First it was Buffalo, then St. Francis and Albany, and finally Colgate. Each one of these teams has one thing in common; they have fallen wrath to the streaking Big Red volleyball team. 12 games, 12 victories, 179 points won and only 80 points lost. Some people would say that the Big Red has been on a hot streak of late.
The Red will take this momentum into the Ivy League Championships this weekend. As it heads to Boston Mass., it will sport the third-seed in the tournament behind only Princeton and Pennsylvania. In the first match of the tournament, the Red will face off against sixth-seed Brown. Going into the match, Cornell (18-8 overall, 4-3 Ivy) will look to avenge its loss to Brown (12-11 overall, 2-5 Ivy) earlier in the year. In that match, Brown handed the Red a nail biting 9-15, 15-10, 15-4, 9-15, 15-10 loss. However, the Red is a much improved team from that day, and has worked out the kinks in the offense that should allow it to advance in the tourney. For the season the Red have averages 14.7 kills, 14.8 digs and 2.3 blocks per game. Brown comes into the match averaging 14 kills, 16.8 digs and 1.9 blocks per game. By the numbers the teams appear to be evenly matched; however, if the Red can stay away from the unforced errors that have been so costly to it throughout the season, it should emerge victorious from this match.
Cornell will look for strong performances from their seasoned leaders. Senior captain Robin Moore comes into the contest as an All-Ivy first team candidate and team leader in service aces and kills. She will need help from junior Jennifer Borncamp (who leads the team in digs), freshman Deborah Quibell and classmate Rachel Rice who sets everything up with her numerous assists per game amongst others to put away a tough Bears team. On the other side of the net, the Bears will be lead by junior defensive standout Laura Wells, junior assist leader Corre Myer and sophomores Aneal Helms and Angela Dunn.
In this single elimination tournament, if the Red is able to knock off Brown, it will face the winner of the Penn-Harvard match. Penn, the second-seed, knocked off the Red only a few weeks ago, and one can guarantee that if there is a rematch Saturday afternoon, the Red will come prepared and look for revenge. If Cornell wins that match, it will likely face off against number-one seed, Princeton, the third team to knock off the Red this season. As a result, the Red will likely have to go through the three teams that beat it in order to become champions. This is no ordinary task, but with the momentum that the team comes into the tournament with, anything is possible.
For now, the Red will have to focus all of its attention on the Brown Bears. The squad is happy that it will have a chance to avenge its early season loss, as it feels that it is a better team and should be able to capitalize on its own skill and superior play. In order to do this the Red will need a fundamentally sound match characterized by few unforced errors, many ferocious kills, lots of dazzling service aces and point saving digs. If all of these elements come together, the Red should be a force to be reckoned with this weekend and potentially return to Ithaca as Ivy League Champions.
Archived article by Peter Bernstein