The Cornell women’s volleyball team has high hopes going into this weekend’s play at the Siena Invitational in Loundonville, NY.
After going a perfect 4-0 in Florida two weeks ago, the women returned home last weekend to face greater opposition in San Diego State, Kent State, and Northeastern during the Cornell Invitational. The Red played three tough matches, but came up just short.
On Friday, Cornell faced Kent State and battled from a 1-2 deficit to force a fifth game tie-breaker, but Kent came out ahead in the fifth game to win 15-11 and secure its victory. The Red played a good match, however, posting a .228 team hitting percentage and recording 74 kills.
On Saturday, senior middle blocker Robin Moore garnered a spot on the All-Tournament team with a solid performance against eventual tournament champions San Diego State, but the Red surrendered to the Aztecs 3-1. The match was not without excitement, as the women staged several impressive rallies in the second game to tie the match 1-1, but the three Aztec women who were selected to the All-Tournament team pulled together to finish off the Red in four games.
Moore turned in double-doubles (kills and digs) in each of the three matches, averaging 3.15 kills per game, and was second in the tourney field with 3.23 digs per game. Freshman outside hitter Debbie Quibell lead the Invitational in kills with 3.85 per game and also had a double-double (kills and digs) in each of the three matches.
The women faced a similar fate in their final match of the Cornell Invitational which they dropped 1-3 to Northeastern.
Though last weekend offered slim pickings in the victory column, it nonetheless allowed the Red to showcase its talent.
“The freshman are playing well, and the veterans are playing well also,” Jackson remarked. “Rachel Rice has been a key to our success. Without her it would be a rough road.”
The Red has to face the prospect of going into the tournament without Rice, however, due to an illness likely brought on by the tough schedule of academics and volleyball.
“I should be better,” Rice stated. “I am trying to stay focused on our ultimate goal of winning.”
Today and tomorrow, the Red will be in Loundonville trying to maintain its winning record.
This week, the Red focused on a lot of serving and free ball plays (when the other team just passes the ball over the net). The team is planning some lineup changes and putting more players in who have not seen much court time, which will be important in matches that go into the fourth or fifth game during a tournament with several meetings.
“We need some depth and experience so we can put more [players] in against tougher teams,” Jackson affirmed.
Tonight the Red will face Wagner College, a team that has had significant court time this season, but little to show for it.
The Seahawks 2-9 record indicates its inability to produce offensively, as does its .182 team hitting percentage. The team is lead by junior middle blocker Jackie Goldstein who currently leads the team with 69 kills and a .283 hitting percentage.
On Saturday, the Red will face SUNY-Albany and tournament host Siena College.
Albany is lead by lone senior outside hitter Julie Arbitman with backup from junior right side Kathleen Mannion. The Great Danes’ 1-6 mark on the year exposes the inexperience of the small, nine women, underclassmen heavy roster.
Wrapping up the tourney, Cornell will face the Siena Saints. Siena has an even split of upper and underclassmen and is captained by senior right side hitter Christina Baldwin who leads the team with 56 kills and 50 digs on the year. Siena’s 3-5 record means this team should not be over looked.
Jackson reflected on the upcoming tournament.
“These teams are much weaker than the teams last weekend,” she said. “Everyone is sick and rundown, and it is a battle to keep everyone healthy and excited, but that is no excuse not to kick their butts. We [also] have to keep the starters fresh for our first Ivy match.”
Rice also added to Jackson’s comments.
“We have to play our hardest every single point because we only get one chance on each point. [Our goal] is just to win and to carry over [things] from practice into our matches. We will do really well as long as we play how we practice.”
The Red has yet to play its first Ivy League bout, but it will meet Columbia in New York City on September 30th to kick off its bid for an Ancient Eight crown.
Archived article by Katherine Granish