Plagued by injuries to key players, the women’s volleyball team stumbled to a 1-3 finish at the Kent State Invitational over the weekend. After winning the season opener for the seventh year running against LaSalle, the women lost three straight matches to finish the tournament.
Playing under the new rules enforced by the Federation of International Volleyball (FIVB), the Red started its season on Friday afternoon in inspiring fashion, rallying from 2-1 down to defeat LaSalle 3-2 (30-20, 27-30, 24-30, 30-25, 15-9). Sophomore Debbie Quibell led the comeback with 15 kills, while classmate Jamie Lugo posted a career-high 11 kills.
Despite the positive start, the women did not fare well the rest of the weekend. On Friday evening, the Red fell to hosts Kent State in three narrow sets (30-27, 30-23, 30-26). Senior Jennifer Borncamp reached the 750 kills-750 digs mark against Kent State, becoming just the eighth player in Cornell history to achieve that feat.
Saturday’s play began in similarly to Friday’s. The women battled bravely but were edged out in five sets (23-30, 30-19, 30-23, 26-30, 15-10) by Robert Morris. Having played two grueling five set encounters and with only nine healthy players available, the Red fell 3-0 (30-24, 30-22, 30-13) to Memphis in the final match of the tournament.
“It was a pretty rough weekend,” admitted head coach Christie Jackson. “We had three major injuries, and the setter, the key player, is gone.”
Jackson was referring to star setter Rachel Rice, who missed the entire tournament due to injury. In Rice’s place, senior Jamiee Reynolds started and did an admirable job. With Rice projected to be out for next week’s tournament as well, Reynolds could be seeing more time at setter.
Jackson was understandably frustrated by the rash of injuries which have forced her to make such changes to her team.
“It’s affecting team chemistry,” Jackson said. “It’s hard to know where you are.”
At the same time, she was encouraged by the Red’s performances over the weekend.
“At times we played amazingly,” she conceded.
Another factor which may have come into play was the introduction of the new FIVB rules. Teams must now tally 30 points to win a set, and points can be scored on opponents’ services. Whereas Cornell’s four opponents had previously played under these new rules, the Red was first exposed to the FIVB’s rule changes at the invitational.
Jackson expressed mixed feelings towards the changes.
“[The new rules] helped us to stay closer, but when we fell behind, it hurt us,” she said.
With the volleyball season about to hit full swing, the women will have to adapt quickly to these new rules. The next test comes this weekend, with three matches at the Georgetown Invitational in Washington, D.C.
Archived article by Soo Kim