The Cornell volleyball team had quite the eventful weekend of competition. The women traveled to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania to compete in the Bucknell Invitational, their last preseason tournament before heading into their regular Ivy season. They managed to secure victories against Bucknell, 3-0, and Buffalo, 3-1, but fell to the Oakland Grizzlies, 1-3, in a heated contest.
With a positive 5-4 overall record, the Big Red seems to have heightened levels of confidence moving forward into the conference play.
“The number one thing that went well for us this weekend was the fact that we played Cornell volleyball,” said sophomore outside hitter Carla Sganderlla. “There were moments last weekend [in Kansas City] where we were not playing our game.”
Sganderlla had a successful weekend, leading Cornell volleyball in kills and aces across all three matches. This dangerous sophomore looks to embrace everything she has learned so far this preseason.
“I think we did well fighting all weekend, playing how we know we can play, and keeping control of our game,” added junior outside hitter Maddy Sroufe. “The good thing is any improvements we need to make are small details that will take us from being good to being great.”
Ironing out the detailed improvements will not hold any of the Red back. Throughout their time at Bucknell, the girls were more composed and made sure to put forth their best effort.
“We played our best match of the year vs. Bucknell,” said head coach Trudy VandeBerg. “I think we are starting to feel how good we are and have the confidence to play with a bit more as we continue. We will, however, work on cutting runs to a point or two. Oakland had some great servers and we let them go on too many runs in that match.”
The Grizzlies held the advantage over the Red consistently in their set wins, making it difficult for Cornell to bounce back. Despite the loss, the Red looked as strong as ever.
“I knew this team was going to be good coming in, hopefully this preseason has set an expectation and we will continue our momentum into Ivy’s,” VandeBerg said. “The entire team has come to play this fall. When one player is struggling there is another ready to come in, pick her up and pick up the team. That is what great teams do.”
Sroufe added that the team started the season with “high hopes and expectations” for improvement, with strong players at each position.
“The best part is that now we have the wins under our belt to boost the confidence we already had in time for Ivy League play this weekend,” Sroufe said.
Columbia volleyball has had a similar non-conference results. The Lions currently boast a 5-5 overall record, so it looks to be anyone’s match this weekend.
“The start of Ivy League play is always best with a win,” Sganderlla said. “It seems to set a standard for the games to come. I know everyone is really looking forward to the game, and I have no doubt that CUVB is ready.”
If the Red wants to improve upon its eighth place finish among the Ancient Eight from last year, confidence and improvement will be key in determining the girls’ fate.
Cornell plays its first Ivy League match at Columbia Saturday at 2 p.m.