This weekend, the Red (0-3) travels down to New York for the Fordham Rose Hill Classic. The volleyball team will compete in two matches on Friday and another two on Saturday.
“Right now I think it’s a quality tournament,” said head coach Melissa Batie-Smoose. “I think all of our opponents are kind of at the same level — there’s not one over the other. We definitely will have to come ready and be prepared to play everybody.”
Cornell begins play on Friday at 11:30 am, taking on host team Fordham. Later that day, at 4:30 pm, the Red will face the Bucknell Bisons. On Saturday at 9:00 am Cornell is slated against the Stony Brook Sea Wolves, and will close out the weekend at 2:00 pm against NJIT.
The four teams Cornell will be facing this weekend are all from different leagues — the Atlantic 10, the Patriot League, the American East and the Great West, respectively.
“Our expectations are more just at this point in the preseason, working through our different lineups … I think we are really just focused on the process and doing the little things as far as winning the passing and serving game and doing those little bits of that will feed a lot of success there,” Batie-Smoose said.
The Red holds an all-time record of 11-1 against the Bisons and a 3-0 record against the Sea Wolves, while Sunday marks the first ever meeting between the Red and NJIT.
“Were just going to go out there and bring our best,” said sophomore setter and tri-captain Kelly Reinke. “We’re just really excited to be back on the court and showing what we are working for.”
The Red opened the season last week at the Omni Hotels Colorado Volleyball Classic hosted by the University of Colorado Tournament. There, Cornell faced Pac-10 opponents and lost in straight sets to Fresno State, Colorado and Northern Arizona.
“I think after last weekend [where] we came back from the West coast playing high level conferences bigger and stronger athletes … That will help us going into this weekend,” Batie-Smoose said. “Just playing that higher level of competition will help us for this weekend a lot.”
Reinke echoed these sentiments and expressed optimism for the Fordham tournament ahead.
“I think coming off of last weekend we are learning a lot as a team and the preseason is the time to grow and hope we get better every game,” she said. “We are really excited to get into this weekend.”
The Red has seen some significant changes from last season, including four new freshmen and a new head coach.
“I think it’s a really good atmosphere this year,” Reinke said. “We have a new head coach and one assistant is new too. They are bringing a lot to the team — It’s been a lot more competitive. It has been fun getting to know everyone and playing as a team.”
The new team is already hard at work.
“We’ve been working a lot on serving and passing and a lot of ball control,” Reinke said. “Hopefully that will all come together for this weekend.”
Batie-Smoose also has specific areas she wants to work on with her new team.
“Our focus is to the scoring system and being really aggressive with that,” she said. “Another focus of ours is scoring points on the end line and serving. [Hopefully] the rest will take care of itself.”
Next week, on Sept. 15, Cornell will play at the Temple Tournament in Philadelphia, Pa. — the Red’s last tournament of the season.