October 15, 2004

Brown, Yale Present Challenge for Netters

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After three straight wins to start its Ivy League schedule, the Cornell volleyball team lost its first league match last Saturday. The Red fell in a nail biter to Harvard, losing the decisive fifth game by only two points, 15-13. The loss snapped Cornell’s nine-match winning streak, dropping its overall record to 9-4. Despite the tough loss, the Red remains upbeat heading into two tough road matches against Brown and Yale.

“We are definitely over the loss,” said junior co-captain Kelly Kramer. “We are ready to go out this weekend and start a new winning streak.”

This may be easier said than done, as the both Ivy League rivals have been impressive so far this year.

Brown comes into today’s match with the Red with a 5-9 record.

However, the team is 2-1 in league play, putting it right in the mix for an Ivy championship. Last weekend, the Bears defeated Princeton, 3-1, but fell to Penn a day earlier.

The Bears have a roster consisting of ten underclassmen. Unlike last season when most of their experience was in the backcourt, this year’s squad has a much more developed front row. This offensive attack is led by junior Lauren Gibbs, who tallied 14 kills and 2 blocks in the team’s last match against Penn.

However, the staple of the team has been defense for many years, and this squad is no different. Senior captain Elvina Kung starts at the libero position and anchors the strong defensive unit. She is complemented by freshman Rachel Lipman.

Tomorrow, Cornell will face off against Yale, which comes into the match with a 6-5 overall record and a 2-1 mark in league play. Last weekend, the Bulldogs knocked off defending Ivy champion Penn, but fell in five-games to Princeton.

The Bulldogs are led by last week’s Ivy League Player of the Week, junior middle blocker Renee Lopes. Lopes leads the team and ranks third in the Ivy League with a .303 hitting percentage. She also ranks third on the squad with 101 kills and 23 blocks respectively. In addition to Lopes, sophomore Shannon Farrell has back-to-back 20 kill matches. Junior Jacqueline Becker leads the defense, posting 50 assists and 21 digs against Penn and 60 assists and 17 digs against Princeton.

“Both of the teams are having great years,” Kramer said. “Both are really good defensive teams and we are just really hoping our hitters can come through and not get frustrated when they get digs.”

Even though both matches will be extremely competitive, the Red remains confident that it can return home with a 5-1 league record.

“If we play the way we can play, there is no reason why we cannot come out with two wins,” Kramer said. “These are good teams but we definitely feel we can sweep this weekend.”

Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Staff Writer