After a season that saw it register one victory in Ivy League competition, the Cornell volleyball team is on a mission to erase past memories and start anew.
With a summer of strength training and conditioning under its belt and a new freshman recruiting class eager to hit the court, the Cornell spikers are poised for a great season.
At the helm of the squad will be second-year head coach Christie Jackson. After a shaky opening season, Jackson made several off-season acquisitions in the form of six freshman recruits to bolster her squad. These newcomers, along with junior All-Ivy selection and captain Robin Moore will hopefully be enough to catapult the Big Red up in the standings.
Along with Moore, junior outside hitter Jen Borncamp, freshman setter Rachel Rice, sophomore assistant captain Mary Margaret Moore and junior defensive specialist Liz Condon should lead the team to a prosperous season.
Rice should have an immediate impact for the squad, as she is a great setter and has good ball control — two attributes the squad sorely missed last season. Borncamp improved tremendously over the summer.
In order to move up in the conference, the squad will have to improve its defensive blocking and digging from last year.
“Everyone on the team has showed a commitment to improve over the summer,” added Jackson. “Four of the six freshman came to our summer camp, and I have seen a huge difference in the play of the returning players.”
This dedication to improve should carry the team into its first tournament this weekend at Stetson. Competing against the Red will be Duquesne, Georgia Southern, Wofford and Stetson, all a bit below the standard of the teams in the Ivy League.
“This tournament should be competitive for us,” stated Jackson. “This is our first tournament and there are a lot of kinks to get out, but we are hoping to get a couple of wins.”
Jackson expects the league to be very challenging, and is confident that with the improvement her team has made, it can “climb halfway up the ladder to the top” this season, thereby securing itself a good seed in the Ivy League Tournament.
After the Stetson Tourney, the spikers will face-off with tough national squads including San Diego State University, Kent State and Northeastern when they host the Cornell Invitational on September 15th and 16th.
These games will feature challenging opposition for the spikers and will help “up their level of play” according to Jackson. In addition, it will help the team prepare mentally and physically for its first Ivy League battle on September 30th at Columbia.
Looking ahead, the climax of the season will come on November 10th, the first day of the Ivy League Championships, held at Harvard this year.
The commitment and dedication to improve that it has displayed over the last few months will take the Red a long way at the beginning. But only perseverance will earn the squad the stripes it desires.
“We’ve taken a huge step forward,” said Jackson. “Competing will be the real test. [We] still have to work to get better, and use the upcoming matches for improvement.”
Archived article by Peter Bernstein