The women’s volleyball team could not have picked a better time to come home as champions. With the fast-approaching commencement of the Ivy season, the Red needed to find its footing amidst injuries and uncertainties. What it did find this weekend was not only solid ground, but also a launching pad for conference action.
Traveling to Staten Island for the Wagner Invitational, Cornell (8-4, 0-0 Ivy) was coming off a 3-1 weekend at its annual Big Red Invitational. Falling just short of acquiring its first tournament crown, the Red was left silently wondering if it even had a chance at bettering last year’s second place finish in the Ivy league.
Due primarily to key injuries on the squad, the Red’s worries stemmed from its need to prove that it could dominate under the new scoring rules and with a new line-up. If this weekend was any indication, Cornell should stop thinking about what it might not do and start considering what it can do.
With wins over Wagner, Long Island and Boston College, the Red finally broke its year-long streak of tournaments without a title.
Senior setter Jaimee Reynolds has provided Cornell the opportunity to shift its philosophy. With 2000 honorable mention All-Ivy sophomore Rachel Rice sustaining nerve damage to her leg earlier this season and her return still uncertain, the setter position has been left vulnerably vacant.
Reynolds stepped right up for this challenge, despite being a senior and not having played the position since high school.
“There is nobody else on this team that could step up to that position because it is so demanding. I don’t know what we would do without her,” senior outside hitter Jennifer Borncamp praised. “She is an amazing athlete and we are lucky to have her because she picked it up so quickly.”
In the first match of the weekend, Cornell faced Wagner. The Red quickly and efficiently washed out the Seahawks in three straight games, 30-15, 30-15 and 31-29. Along with out-hitting the host school .267-.067, Cornell capitalized on kills (50-28) and assists (40-22).
Reynolds continued on her way to successfully transforming into a setter with 32 assists and a team-high 13 digs. Additionally, five Cornell players notched at least eight kills, including Borncamp who put up eight of them along with 10 digs.
On Saturday, Cornell began with a match against Long Island University (LIU). The Blackbirds should never have left their cage as the Red clipped their wings in three straight games, 30-17, 30-9 and 30-23. Cornell hit .330 and held the Blackbirds to a negative hitting percentage in all three games.
Additionally, no LIU player had more than four kills. Reynolds again shined in the win with 40 assists and eight digs, Borncamp contributed with 12 kills, five digs and three blocks, sophomore outside hitter Debbie Quibell had 13 kills, and junior outside hitter Angela Barbera contributed nine kills.
The final match of the tournament would decide the eventual champion.
Against Boston College, Cornell found the level of talent it was looking to
face before the Ivy season.
In its hardest fought match of the weekend, the Red jumped out to take the
first game 30-27, but dropped the next one, 31-33, before closing out the
tournament by taking the third and fourth games with scores of 30-27 and
In true team style, Cornell got contributions from all areas of the court.
Reynolds tallied 48 assists, 14 kills and six digs, while Quibell shone
with a match-high 19 kills. Sophomore middle blocker Jaime Lugo was
outstanding with career-highs of 16 kills and 10 blocks, and Borncamp
knocked in 11 kills, had 14 digs and an impressive five service aces.
Barbera also aided in the victory with 12 kills, nine digs and five blocks. “Boston College was a great win for us because they have a lot of good
players on their team. We definitely had the opportunity to lose this match
and we didn’t. [We] really hung in tight and had a team effort,” head
coach Christie Jackson said.
Borncamp echoed Jackson’s sentiments.
“Boston College was the most competitive team of the weekend, so we really
needed to win that match and know that we were ready for the Ivies,” she
The Red out hit the Eagles .240-.199, but was mired by 30 mistakes that
most likely made the games closer than they should have been. Jackson
thought the team has improved in the error department since the beginning of the season.
“We did better, but we still have a long way to go. Actually, it is just
strings of errors now and we have a lot of people in the game who haven’t
played much. However, we played more solid around the errors and never got
really flustered where it would cost us the match,” she reflected on the
Most deservedly, Reynolds was named the tournament MVP. After averaging 12 assists per game, one kill per game, and three digs per game while hitting .450 over the three matches, she was the clear choice. Borncamp and Quibell were also acknowledged and named to the all-tournament team as well.
“[Jaimee] really deserved it, she has worked so hard and she made it happen
for us in [the Boston College] match,” Jackson stated.
Borncamp summarized her view of the tournament.
“Basically we played solid this weekend. That was our main word that we
were focusing on this weekend. Just play a solid game and make fewer errors.
Just to play it simple and play the game we know how to play. And we did,
especially against Boston College.”
Cornell will continue to try to do exactly that again when it faces Columbia this Friday in New York City and this Sunday in Ithaca.
Archived article by Katherine Granish