In a packed and excited crowd in Newman Arena Saturday afternoon, the women’s volleyball team pulled off a five set win against rival Dartmouth. The Red (6-12, 2-5 Ivy League) won the first two sets against the Green (2-15, 1-6) before dropping the next two and winning the fifth set, 15-10. Cornell dropped the first match of the weekend to Harvard (6-11, 3-3 Ivy) in four sets on Friday evening.
“[Dartmouth] took us out of rhythm in the third and fourth sets,” said head coach Melissa Batie-Smoose. “They just went back to the service line and took chances and we missed a lot of serves and passes.”
The Red won the first two sets, 25-22 and 25-14, respectively, before just dropping the third set, 23-25. Senior setter Lucy Zheng led the Red in assists with 40 in her relief of sophomore captain Kelly Reinke, who was injured with an ankle sprain.
Dartmouth came out firing in the fourth set, defeating Cornell 25-13. The Red had nine errors and had a poor -.061 hitting percentage. However, in the fifth set Cornell performed better, having only two errors with a .250 hitting percentage. The Red finally clinched the match win after a serving error by Dartmouth ended the fifth set at 15-10.
“[Cornell] just decided to go out there and play,” Batie-Smoose said. “Our strength is serving and passing and in the fifth set we were nailing our serves. Our aggressiveness helped get our confidence back.”
Freshman outside hitter Breanna Wong led the Red with 14 kills, while junior middle blocker Rachel D’Epagnier was the leader in service aces with three.
On Friday, Cornell did not achieve a positive result against Harvard, as the team committed 34 errors with just a .138 hitting percentage. The Red won the third set, 27-25, and had 17 kills and 11 errors in the set. In the fourth Harvard, won 25-20 and recorded a solid .333 hitting percentage with 13 kills and just two errors.
“We missed a big a opportunity against Harvard,” Batie-Smoose said. “We just did not show up mentally and physically, but we could have matched up well against them. We just did not serve well and pass well which usually are our strengths.”
Junior captain Kelly Marble led the team with 18 kills, while Zheng again led the team with 42 assists.
“We definitely should have beat both of the teams this weekend,” Marble said. “We just couldn’t make a mental switch during the Harvard game in order to beat them.”
The Red continues their Ivy League play next weekend against Columbia in Newman Arena in the “Dig Pink” weekend. The game against the Lions is Cornell’s only one of the weekend before they go on a four-game road trip in consecutive weekends against Brown, Yale, Dartmouth and Harvard.