October 1, 2003

Senior's Perseverence Pays Off

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Jamie Lugo is proof that hard work really does pay off.

“When she came [to Cornell], we didn’t know if she would be a contributor,” head coach Christie Roes remembered.

Four years later, Lugo is a senior on the women’s volleyball team that has started the 2003 season with the longest winning streak the program has seen in over a decade. On an individual level, she is well positioned to break Cornell records in career blocks per game. She is also on the top-10 list of record-holders for career block assists, total blocks, and hitting percentage.

These impressive statistics are evidence of Lugo’s hard work and dedication to the sport. Originally from Long Beach, Calif., Lugo was attracted to Cornell because it offered a change of scenery. However, her career did not get off to an easy start.

The volleyball team has a program called the Breakfast Club. If a player does not meet physical fitness goals during the August preseason, she must take physical tests every morning until she is able to pass them. It took a month of early mornings for Lugo to pass these tests, but once she did, she never looked back.

Lugo spent her freshman year playing a back-up role to Ivy League Player of the Year Robin Moore. In her sophomore campaign, Lugo led the team in blocks and in hitting percentage. She also set a school record for block assists. Her hard work continued to pay off in her junior year, as she was second on the team in blocks per game and ranked in the league in several statistical categories.

“Jamie has improved so much, come so far,” Roes said. “She comes to every practice and game ready to play.”

Roes added that Lugo’s enthusiasm for training makes her a role model for all of the younger athletes that have difficulty with the physical requirements of college athletics.

Lugo looks at volleyball as part of an amazing college experience at Cornell.

“I’m lucky to play,” she said. “There’s a great group of people here to support me.”

Lugo treasures the friendships she’s made through volleyball, and looks ahead to graduation in the spring. With her art history degree, she plans to either continue her studies at the graduate level, or pursue an intern position.

But for now, Lugo is concentrating on her final season with the Red. Both Roes and Lugo are on the same page when it comes to this year’s agenda.

“It’s our year to win the whole thing,” Roes predicted.

“As a whole, Cornell is at its best ever,” Lugo added.

Lugo credits the team’s success so far with the fact that the squad is very close and the players have no major conflicts with each other.

“We need to stay cohesive and support each other on the court,” Lugo said of the rest of the season.

“We all have the same common goal,” Roes said of the recipe for success so far.

Cornell has started the season with eight straight wins over non-league opponents. Ivy League action starts this Friday, with a match against Columbia. Lugo said that although the team has faced tough opponents already, and come out the stronger team, the Ivy League competition is tough to judge from year to year.

“It doesn’t matter who’s on the other side of the net,” Lugo said. “All the pressure is on us. We have to rise to the challenge.”

As for herself, Lugo doesn’t think in terms of setting records and making headlines.

“I want to play solid, and contribute in every game,” she said of her goals for the season. “I think a lot of people don’t realize what college volleyball is. It’s a very exciting spectator sport.”

Ultimately, both Roes and Lugo are shooting for an Ivy League championship. Lugo has helped the team to a second-place finish in the league twice in her time at Cornell.

“She wants a ring,” Roes said of Lugo’s goals for the season.

And if the past four years are any indication, Lugo always reaches her goals.

Archived article by Olivia Dwyer