After garnering its first win under new head coach Deitre Collins against Duquesne on Friday, the Cornell women”s volleyball team (3-3, 0-0 Ivy) never looked back. The Red proceeded to shut out both Bucknell and Niagara on Saturday, winning this weekend”s Bucknell Invitational.
‘Last weekend was a learning experience,’ Collins explained. ‘I think we came back, learned what we needed to do, and it showed.’
Despite falling behind early in game one against Duquesne, 14-9, the Red managed to get itself together after a critical timeout called by Collins. Cornell tied the game up at 30-30 after a 21-16 run, and proceeded to win its first game. The Red lost a close game two on a hitting error, but took control in the next two games to take the match, 3-1.
‘Last week when we were down, we couldn”t come back,’ Collins said. ‘[This week] really showed that we could finish a match strong.’
Junior co-captain Whitney Fair played very well in the victory, registering a double-double with 63 assists and 10 digs.
On Saturday, the Red met the host of the weekend”s tournament, Bucknell. The Bison were no match for the impassioned Cornell, who took games one, two, and three with few problems, 30-27, 30-27, and 30-24. The Red had another strong blocking performance, with sophomore Katie Rademacher and junior Heather Young each picking up five blocks on the day. As a team, the Red out-blocked the Bison, 12-7.
Later that day, Cornell faced its final opponent, Niagara. Despite a close final game that ended 33-31 in Cornell”s favor, the Red was able to blank the Purple Eagles, who dropped to 1-9 on the season. Cornell received notable performances from junior Hayley Grieve, who had a career-high five service aces and Liz Bishop, who picked up her second double-double of the weekend with 17 kills and 10 digs.
When asked about the level of play this weekend, Collins said, ‘Every single team there battled us.’
With solid play from all its starters, the Red was able to completely rebound and take the Bucknell Invitational by storm. However, it was not all the usual suspects who contributed, as this weekend also saw the debut of freshman Kara Zaragoza, who came off the bench and had a strong showing. As the Red heads into some tough matches at Binghamton next week, such overall contribution may be more of a factor.
‘Kara Zaragoza came off the bench and did a really fantastic job,’ Collins said. ‘It was nice getting to change up a bit.
‘I don”t like to make predictions, but we”re going to continue to work hard and get better as we go,’ she finished.
Archived article by Mike Pandolfini
Sun Staff Writer