September 28, 2001

One More Step

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The magic eight ball is a comforting friend for those who are unsure in their lives. Ask that little wonder any question, and it will provide the answer you seek.

Questions are things, among others, that have been weighing heavily on the minds of the women’s volleyball team (5-3, 0-0 Ivy). How will the new rules affect games down the stretch? How will the new Ivy schedule factor into the team’s championship chances? Who will be healthy for this weekend’s matches? If the Red has turned to the eight ball for guidance on these matters, it most certainly responded with a “cannot predict now.”

These issues are serious ones for Cornell, and while fond memories are unable to provide assurance in certain matters, the Red brings an arsenal of talent and confidence.

In 2000 — the final year of the Ivy League volleyball tournament — Cornell was beaten in the fifth game of the final match, placing second to Princeton — a bittersweet ending considering how far it had come from the previous year’s last place finish.

Ten months have passed since that match, and a new season has arrived.

Headed by captain and outside hitter Jennifer Borncamp, this year’s senior class is solid. Borncamp will see time in almost every game, as her talent and speed combine in perfect unison. She is on par to be the first Cornell player with both 1000 kills and digs. Defensive specialist Liz Condon will be key late in matches and middle blocker Jaimee Reynolds could see more time in the setter’s role if injury prevents sophomore Rachel Rice from returning this year.

Assistant captain and defensive specialist/setter junior Mary Margaret Moore is reaching the prime of her career and will definitely see more action as head coach Christie Jackson tinkers with the lineup. Outside hitter and classmate Angela Barbera, a transfer from Boise State, has shown exceptional agility at the net and will legitimately contend for a spot on the court.

The sophomore class is a big one with a wealth of talent. Heading the class is outside hitter Debbie Quibell. Named to the All-Ivy second team last year, Quibell possesses incredible skill and quick thinking at the net. Last weekend, she became the fastest player to achieve 500 kills in Cornell history. Rice was named as honorable mention All-Ivy last season, but is currently suffering from nerve damage in her leg. Her status for the remainder of the season is uncertain. Middle blocker Ashley Stover is one of the quickest players on the team and will see significant time for the Red. Middle blocker Jamie Lugo and right side Sharon Erickson should also see more playing time as they increase their experience on the court.

Outside hitter/defensive specialist Kathryn Conrad is the lone rookie, but is recovering from an ACL injury sustained last spring. She may be cleared to play as soon as this weekend, but will be carefully monitored to ensure she does not get reinjured.

After experiencing the new rule changes and considering the new tournament format, Jackson is unsatisfied with the transformations.

“I don’t really like them. I do like the net serve because that will help us more than hurt us, but it is obviously negative when they hit the net,” she reflected.

“The rally score is a really difficult thing to get used to and to stay focused for 30 points. I don’t think the best team wins; definitely, I think a bad team can win. The chances of getting an error are pretty high. It is really hard to adjust to, it is definitely an adjustment,” Jackson added.

She was also unhappy about abolishing the year-end league tournament.

“I am going to miss the tournament. Before the season really didn’t count, just the tournament. It will be a challenge because we will have to be focused for every match. We can’t drop a match and win the league; we have to win everything,” she sighed.

This season’s squad knows how close it was to slipping on that coveted ring, it will remember that feeling, and it ultimately has no choice other than to play its best every time out. Then maybe the eight ball will give a definite yes to an Ivy title.

Archived article by Katherine Granish