After sweeping two matches from Columbia last weekend, the Cornell volleyball team will continue it Ivy League schedule with road matches against Dartmouth and Harvard. The Red has won seven in a row, after losing three to start the season. But, the team will only be getting stronger, as sophomore middle blocker Joanna Weiss returns from injury on Friday.
“She’s a stud,” said junior co-captain Kelly Kramer. “She is 6-4 so just her presence is great intimidation. Other hitters get very tentative when she is on the court. She is also very athletic and provides an entirely new threat for the team.”
Weiss was injured on the second day of practice this season when team was practicing some deep court defensive drills. Weiss was chasing a ball and tried to stop short to avoid a collision with another teammate. However, her foot got twisted sideways and she tore knee cartilage and had some muscle fold over her patella.
“It is slow coming back into it, but I am getting there,” Weiss said. “I am learning from my teammates and doing all the drills on the court. I am starting from square one, so I am just trying to improve my speed and jumping capabilities.”
At the time of the injury, Weiss did not realize its severity and continued to practice. The next day, her knee had considerable swelling and the Red trainer gave her a brace to wear for support. She traveled with the team on its California trip and played sparingly, as the injury decreased her mobility.
When she returned to Cornell, she had surgery and was expected to be out for about a month. Weiss began rehabbing the knee immediately and was able to start practicing last Thursday, less than three weeks after the surgery.
“I definitely got lucky with the recovery time and the trainers really helped out with the rehab,” Weiss said. “I am just trying to strengthen the knee and get my range and motion back. Right now, the strength in the rest of my leg is compensating for my injury. But I am coming along, considering I could not bend my knee on the day of the surgery.”
Having the 6-4 middle blocker back in the lineup will add much needed depth to the Red. Weiss averaged 0.91 blocks per game last season as a freshman, helping the Red finish second in the nation in that category. Thus far this season, junior Heather Young and sophomore Kate Rademacher have been the team’s only two players at the position.
“Now that there are three of them, coach [Collins] has the option to play any mixture of them,” Kramer said.
Weiss is just very excited to start contributing to the team and hopes to help it extend its winning streak to nine by the end of the weekend.
“I am not sure what coach has planned,” Weiss said. “We are going to play the best six and we have extremely strong players, so I am not expecting anything at all. I am just practicing to strengthen the team in any way I can, so we will see.”
Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Staff Writer