November 14, 2008

Volleyball Pursues Victory for Red Seniors

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With a 7-5 league record, the Ancient Eight title is officially out of reach for the volleyball team. Yale is atop the standings with an 11-1 Ivy record, followed by Princeton at 10-1 and Penn at 8-3.
But while the top spot is no longer on the line, the Red still has two more matches to play — against Dartmouth today at 7 p.m. and Harvard tomorrow at 4 p.m.
[img_assist|nid=33583|title=Serve’s up|desc=Freshman Risa Ka’awa (1) serves against Brown during the Red’s 3-1 victory on Oct. 26. Ka’awa and the other underclassmen will be playing with their senior leaders for the last time this weekend.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The Red defeated both teams earlier this season in close 3-2 matches.
“We’re excited, these are our last two games,” said senior captain Hilary Holland.
Dartmouth (8-15, 3-9 Ivy) fought the Red tooth-and-nail in the last matchup between the two teams on Oct. 18. Cornell ultimately came out on top, 15-25, 26-24, 25-23, 18-25, 15-10.
Freshman middle blocker Kelly Hansen led the offense in that match with 14 kills for a .455 hitting percentage and four block assists. Senior middle blocker Emily Borman added 13 kills and six block assists.
“I’m feeling confident,” said Holland, who registered 45 assists and 15 digs in the match. “We beat them the last time, but we know we can do better.”
How can the team do better? It’ll start with blocking — always one of head coach Deitre Collins-Parker’s main focuses in practice, no matter who the Red is playing that weekend.
“We need to block better, be aware of tips and not letting them score off them,” Holland said.
Megan MacGregor led the Green offense with 16 kills, while Madeleine Baird had 12 kills and 19 digs.
“Dartmouth is a quality team, so we have to play well,” Collins-Parker said. “With both teams playing well, it will be interesting.”
As is her custom, Collins-Parker focused on the Dartmouth match all week in practice, but still snuck a few strategies to use against the Crimson into her practices.
“I think its better to do it this way than to overload [the players],” she said. “I try to evaluate both teams and get everything we need to work on leading up to [the matches] in practice, but they don’t know it. It’s on me, not them.”
The Saturday match will be the squad’s senior night — the Red will recognize the accomplishments of seniors Kathryn Woodbury, Borman and Holland before the game.
“As seniors, we’ve never lost to them, but it’s definitely going to be a hard-fought match,” Holland said.
The Red came out on top in five sets on Oct. 17, 25-19, 20-25, 25-18, 19-25, 16-14. Holland totaled 54 assists and freshman outside hitter Meagan Tatum had 18 kills to lead the offense.
“It just helps our confidence,” Holland said of the team’s win against Harvard earlier this season. “At the same time, I’m sure they’ve improved. We’re going to have to step it up to the next level.”