The volleyball team will hold its first Ivy League home games this weekend — matching up against the Yale Bulldogs on Friday and the Brown Bears on Saturday. The goal, according to head coach Melissa Batie-Smoose, is “to not lose on the weekend — to at least split.”
Although the team has improved its record to 3-8 after losing six of its first seven games, Batie-Smoose recognizes this fall as “a rebuilding season.”
With a tough stretch of 10 games on the road behind its back, the Red won in a hard-fought 3-2 victory against Colgate in Newman Arena on Tuesday. Freshman Breanna Wong delivered 18 kills, while senior Kelly Marble added 11 kills and 12 digs for a double-double.
The team has the opportunity to ride the win into its two games this Friday and Saturday — part of the alumni weekend and a celebration of 40 years of Cornell volleyball. This weekend will also include the Alumnae Match, which occurs after the game against Brown on Saturday.
After losing its last 8 games with Yale, Cornell is 25-32 overall against the Bulldogs. The Red has faired better against Brown, however, holding the upper hand in the season series with a record of 37-19.
Cornell lost both of its games last season to the Bulldogs, while it split its matchups with the Bears.
Before the players hit the court this weekend, the team must get ready for competition.
To prepare for opponents, Batie-Smoose says that she watches “numerous films,” breaks down the scouting report with the other coaches and shows the team “different rotations that [it] possibly [needs] to defend.”
Batie-Smoose, who has been coaching for 19 years across a number of conferences and divisions, is in her first year as head coach at Cornell, where she’s motivated to improve the Red one step at a time.
“Its important to focus on little tangible goals,” she says, adding that rebuilding is all about “getting better each time.”
In addition to working on improvement every day, Batie Smoose emphasizes the importance of attitude, dedication, and heart.
Through her coaching at multiple universities she’s learned that the most important thing is, “Showing that we love to play this game.”
“With that,” she claims, “will come the results we are looking for.”