By OLIVIA MATTYASOVSZKY
The Cornell volleyball team will enter into the second half of its Ivy League scheduled play Saturday at Columbia. The team currently hold a 4-13 overall record, with an Ivy record of 0-7, good for eighth in the Ivy league. Columbia enters the matchup at 5-11 overall and stands just about Cornell in seventh place in the league.
Last time the Red played the Lions, the team started off strong. The first set belonged to Cornell, with freshman Alex Basler, junior Macey Wilson and sophomore Emily Wemhoff leading the stat sheet with big numbers in the front row. Consistent serving and support from the back row on defense helped Cornell take the first set, 25-21. However, the Lions started to gain momentum in the second set, and the teams rallied back and forth, trading points until the very last second.
The Lions took the second set, 26-24, then took the third in more dramatic fashion, 20-25. After losing ground in the third, Cornell dug in and led the fourth set until the very end. However, the Lions battled it out and took the last two points, winning the fourth set by two, just enough to take the game.
This season, Columbia is home to the league’s leading hitter, Katarina Jovicic, who has a .355 kill percentage. Last time the Red faced Columbia, Jovicic had 10 kills, and thus will prove a challenge for Cornell’s middle blockers this weekend. Columbia’s Zoe Jacobs led the Lions last time with 19 kills, while the Columbia setter posted a match high 49 assists.
“Our mentality for this week of practice and for this weekend is to go all out,” said outside hitter and freshman Carla Sganderlla. “We are working hard everyday in the gym to win this weekend against Columbia. We know what their tendencies are and we’ve been practicing the necessary strategies to win.”
Other expected big hitters for Cornell include Basler, who hit a .455 last time against the Lions. Junior Alyssa Phelps will start at setter and has been putting up big numbers for the Red all year, including 27 assists last time against Columbia. Phelps shared the court that game with freshman setter Lauren Donnelly, who had 15 assists of her own. Phelps also posted nine kills against Columbia on the weak side.
Wilson will be important on the blocking once again as she did a great job against Jovicic last time, stuffing down one solo block and seven block assists.
“We are still so motivated and ready for this upcoming weekend because we know we are so close to doing amazing things,” Wilson said.
Phelps agreed, saying, “At this point, we’ve seen what every other team has to offer and we’re ready to bring home some wins. We’re gaining confidence as a team and as a unit and I know we are completely capable of beating any team in the Ivy League.”