To so many high school athletes, the dream of playing in college remains simply that, just a dream. Even those who do make it to the next level often find themselves toiling away for years before being able to make any contribution to a team’s success. Yet, there is always the rare and special rookie, the phenom that arrives on campus with the potential to not only make an immediate contribution, but to become an integral part of a championship-caliber squad.
Typical to her nature, freshman spiker Elizabeth Bishop takes all of this hype in stride.
“My personal goal out there is just to have fun,” Bishop said. “I want to have a specific role on the team and be able to fulfill that role every game. If that means supporting the team when I’m not playing, I’ll support them. And if that means contributing when I’m called on to contribute, I want to do so.”
At this point in the reason, Bishop’s role on the volleyball team is not only starting outside hitter, but also the team leader in several offensive categories. The Portland, Ore. native has been a constant threat to opposing defenses, averaging 4.16 kills per game and recording a .360 hitting percentage. She has been an instrumental component of the Red’s exceptional 11-1 start (including 2-0 in Ivy League play), having garnered individual recognition as the tournament MVP of the Albany Challenge (Sept. 19-20) and all-tournament honors at the Seton Hall Spikefest (Sept. 13-14). In addition, she has been named Ivy League Rookie of the Week three times, the only Cornell volleyball player ever to earn three consecutive weekly awards from the Ivy League.
“Elizabeth is definitely one of the sparks on our team,” head coach Christie Roes stated. “She is relentless on the court. When other teams start studying her and try to shut her down, she will only get better.”
However, despite the seemingly endless recognition and praise for her play, what stands out the most about Bishop is her unwavering humility. Upon speaking with her, one does not find a trace of arrogance or egotism, rather one finds a fun-loving, selfless young woman who is always willing to deflect the acclaim onto others.
“Our team is just like a family,” Bishop remarked. “Everyone has been really supportive, and the season so far has been a very positive experience. The coaches are very understanding, and we’re all like sisters on the team. We all want the Ivy League championship, so it’s important for us to focus on the goals of the team.”
This kind of team-first attitude has made Bishop a favorite of both coaches and teammates alike, establishing her reputation as someone who is committed both to the success of the team and her own personal achievement.
“What I like about her most is she is an easygoing player,” Roes stated. “You can’t fluster her. Moreover, she is extremely humble, and she always wants what is best for the team.”
Prior to her arrival at Cornell, Bishop was a three-time first-team all-league honoree at Jesuit High School in Portland, Ore. and a member of the Portland Volleyball Club. She had a desire to attend an East Coast college early on, hoping to “experience a different kind of lifestyle and be constantly challenged.”
As a daughter of Cornell alumnus Mort Bishop, it didn’t take long for the volleyball stud to realize that Big Red blood ran through her veins as well.
“Cornell was my first choice school,” Bishop said. “But there is certainly a big difference between high school volleyball and college. The practices are longer and more focused, the game is much smarter, and the training is much heavier. But so far, the change has been fine.”
Adjustment certainly does not seem to be one of Bishop’s main concerns. While she excels on the court, she is equally motivated to succeed in the classroom. A student in the College of Arts and Sciences, Bishop is currently debating between a Psychology major or trying her hand in the Applied Economics and Management major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Yet, never one to let herself be consumed by only academics and athletics, the freshman is also an amateur artist, hoping to pursue her drawing further in college.
Regardless of where Bishop’s path leads her, she will indisputably leave a permanent mark on Red athletics in the future. Bishop and the rest of the team continue Ivy League play this weekend with home matches against Dartmouth and Harvard at Newman Arena.
Archived article by Kyle Sheahen