Tonight, the Cornell volleyball team is suiting up for its last non-conference match of the season against Colgate at home. After a weekend in which the Red took a giant step towards the Ivy title with a victory over Brown only to see that progress dashed with a startling three-game defeat against Yale, the Red (12-7, 5-3 Ivy) will use this match to regain its composure.
“This match is scheduled to get us refocused. We want to refocus and get everything back together,” junior setter Rachel Rice affirmed.
On Friday, Cornell battled last year’s co-champion Bears through four games and waited for the results of the Harvard-Penn match. At that point, the Red needed another Ivy team to defeat the Crimson for it to have a chance at the crown.
When the outcome was announced, the Quakers had downed its opponent three games to one and put the Red within one game of first place.
With renewed hope, Cornell went into Saturday’s match against the Bulldogs confident, yet not expecting to win easily. But in a scenario eerily reminiscent of last season, Yale used the momentum from its 3-2 win over Columbia the previous night and shut-out the Red in three straight games. Cornell also dropped a decision to the Bulldogs by the same score last year in a match that ended up being a significant factor in the Red’s placing in the standings.
“We take it on ourselves to focus and get ready the same way no matter what team we play. We went into that match knowing we could win, and didn’t and that baffled us,” Rice said. “We should have beat them. We didn’t underestimate the team, and we didn’t think we were going to walk all over them. It was disappointing because we didn’t get it done.”
While the first place trophy may have moved slightly out of Cornell’s sight at the moment, the Red still has a chance at reaching its goal. That opportunity depends not only on the Red’s performance against Harvard and Penn in its upcoming matches, but also on other teams beating those two foes.
This weekend, Cornell will face one of those two teams — Penn — which is why tonight’s contest is so vital.
Although Colgate (3-19, 2-7 Patriot) has only won two of its past 16 matches, one of those victories came this past Saturday in a 3-0 triumph over LaFayette.
“We have been practicing our system and getting our jobs done, so tomorrow, we will focus on our team and get it done. We can’t look at any team’s record and just say we are going to win after this weekend,” Rice reflected. “We just have to go out and play our game every single match and prove to ourselves we are a better team day-in and day-out.”
In their win, the Raiders hit a combined .313 with four team blocks. Freshman outside hitter Becca Sadowsky collected a match-high 13 kills on .667 hitting, while junior middle hitter Claire Putzeys had 10 with a .333 hitting mark. Senior setter Amy Rawson had six kills on .556 hitting with five digs and 32 assists.
For the season, senior outside hitter Melissa Rawson leads the team with 3.17 kills per game (kpg) and 2.24 digs per game (dpg). Sadowsky is third with 1.90 kpg. As a whole, Colgate is hitting .145 with 11.74 kpg and 11.47 dpg.
Comparatively, Cornell is hitting .210 with 14.97 kpg and 14.52 dpg.
“As a team, our coaches made us focus on ourselves and keep improving as a team, and we will look at them tomorrow and find out what needs to be done and get it done,” Rice continued. “We have had opportunities to watch them on film, but for the most part, we are focused on ourselves.”
The match begins at 7 p.m. tonight in Newman Arena.
“We don’t look back and say what should have been done. We look forward,” Rice ended. “We are excited to prove to ourselves that we can bounce back and that we can win.”
Archived article by Katherine Granish