At the beginning of the season, the Cornell volleyball team had aspirations of an Ivy League title.
“We want it to be a championship season because we know it can be,” said junior co-captain Kelly Kramer before the team played its first match.
Even after two losses to rivals Harvard and Yale, the Red is in third place in the conference, with a 4-2 record, trailing the Crimson and Princeton by only one game in the loss column. Yet, in order for the Red to stay in the hunt for a first place finish, it will need to have a strong weekend at home against two of its rivals.
Tonight, the Red will host Princeton at Newman Arena. The Red has not beaten the Tigers since 2001, losing the last five meetings. Princeton comes into this match sitting in second place in the Ivy League with a 4-1 record. It has won three in a row in league play, including a match against the Crimson this past Saturday, which gave Harvard its first loss of the year.
Senior Alex Brown, who was recently named Ivy League Co-Player of the Week, leads the Tigers. In the team’s two matches last weekend, Brown compiled 28 kills, 14 blocks, and a .396 hitting percentage. She ranks third in the league in the latter category, hitting .303 for the year.
The Tigers also boast a terrific defensive squad, led by sophomore Jenny McReynolds, who is 10th in the country with 5.70 digs per game.
Tomorrow afternoon, Cornell will play host the Quakers. Penn comes into the match with a 2-3 mark in the league, good enough for sixth place, in front of only Dartmouth and Columbia. Cornell and Penn split their meetings a year ago, with the home team winning both times.
Penn has been a team of streaks thus far this season. The team began with a pair of impressive wins at the University of Virginia Tournament, but promptly dropped four in a row thereafter, followed by rolling off four straight at its own tournament. The Quakers are currently riding a one match winning streak, defeating Dartmouth in comeback fashion this past Saturday. The Green took the first two games before Penn stormed back with three in a row.
As a team, the Quakers rank second in the league in kills per game with 15.09. Junior Cara Thomason paces the team, averaging 3.05 kills, and 4.64 digs per game. She also has 0.53 service aces per game, leading the league in that category.
The key for the Red this weekend will be sophomore outside hitter Elizabeth Bishop. So far this year, Bishop has been named to the Ivy League weekly honor roll four times, and she leads all players with 4.78 kills per game.
From here on out, Cornell will face many of its rivals again, including another showdown with both Harvard and Princeton in the coming weekends.
Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Staff Writer