Coming off a weekend in which the volleyball team dropped two heartbreaking matches to Ivy League powers Princeton and Penn, the Red was looking to get back to what had come so easily for most of the season: winning. And not just winning, but completely dominating.
With that mindset, the team arrived at Cotterell Court last night to take on Central New York rival Colgate in the Red’s final non-league match of the season. Domination? Try obliteration.
The Red swept the Raiders in three straight matches (30-19, 30-21, 30-20), showing virtually no signs of the previous weekend’s error-plagued play and improving its record to 16-3 overall (6-2 Ivy). The Raiders seemed overmatched and overpowered, dropping to 5-19 (2-7 Patriot) and further assuring themselves another losing season.
“We just wanted to play how we knew we could,” senior middle blocker Jamie Lugo said. “It was a chance for everybody to get the feel back and remember we are a good team and we can play.”
Last night’s success can be attributed to improving in a number of areas where the Red experienced trouble last weekend. Perhaps most importantly, the team’s hitting percentage increased dramatically from .136 in the match against Penn to an impressive .308 versus the Raiders. The squad also posted 47 kills and 13 blocks against the Raiders, a far cry from the 37 kills and six blocks recorded at Penn.
“We really needed this win coming off of last weekend,” senior middle blocker Ashely Stover said. “Getting back on the court and playing well was a very positive experience.”
Senior outside hitter Debbie Quibell set the example offensively and defensively, finishing the game with 12 kills and 11 digs on the way to her fifth double-double of the season. Freshman Elizabeth Bishop continued to stupefy opponents with her attacks, registering 14 kills on the evening. Sophomore Whitney Fair also factored prominently in the improvements, notching 31 assists in only two games against the Raiders, as opposed to the 29 recorded by the entire team versus Penn.
With the victory, the Red finished the year with a non-conference record of 10-1 and extended its all-time winning record against Colgate to 52-22-1.
“This game allowed us to re-focus on the things we needed to get done on our side of the net,” said Stover, who had nine kills for the Red. “It was a good game to have going into next weekend.”
The Red set the pace from the beginning, jumping out to an early 10-2 lead in the first game. Sophomore outside hitter Rachel Adomat was a key part of the Red’s aggressive attack, adding four kills to propel the squad further to a 21-10 advantage.
Set on amending the errors made over the weekend, the Red played with the poise that had built its 14-game winning streak, hitting .429 as a team in the first game. The overwhelmed Raiders had no answers to the disciplined Red, eventually falling 30-19.
The Red came out somewhat flat in the second game, falling behind early 9-6. Yet with the help of sophomore Heather Young and some key blocks, the players mounted a quick comeback and knotted the score at 12-12. From that point on, all the Raiders could see was Red. Cornell controlled the remainder of the game, leaving the Raiders facing an insurmountable 2-0 deficit after winning 30-21. The last game was much of the same; Colgate jumping to an early lead, but the Red having the final say as it dismantled the Raiders 30-20.
“Everyone had one thing to work on individually, and it was good because everyone also got some playing time,” said Lugo, who assisted on five blocks in the match. “The win felt good for the team.”
The Red is hoping success will breed more success this weekend, as the team resumes its Ivy League road schedule at Harvard (6-12, 5-3) and Dartmouth (7-12, 1-7). The squad then returns home the following weekend for two crucial rematches against Princeton and Penn.
Archived article by Kyle Sheahen