The pressure of the Ivy title seemed to get to the volleyball team (16-8, 10-4 Ivy), as the Red started the weekend against the Yale Bulldogs (14-7, 9-4 Ivy) looking off-balance and a shadow of the team that has risen to the top of the ranks this season. The Bulldogs stuck it to the Red, picking up a sweep win, taking the games 30-25, 30-17, and 30-23.
“Yale played well,” head coach Deitre Collins said after the loss. “I really did not think we would have played like this.”
The Bulldogs came out strong, led by the outstanding setting of Jacqueline Becker, who finished with 51 assists in the three games played. Becker was consistently deceptive, and the Red struggled to catch on to her play early.
“They’ve got a phenomenal setter that really gets you off balance,” Collins explained.
Despite struggling for most of the match, the Red seemed to hold its own in Game 1, leading, 11-10, early on. However, in addition to their overall strong play, the Bulldogs demonstrated during several points in the match that they just had more heart than the Red on Friday. For instance, while down 11-10 early in Game 1, Yale’s Shannon Farrell dove into her own bench to successfully save a partially blocked ball off of a Cornell spike. The Bulldogs would end the day with an incredible 76 digs, with their defense appearing impenetrable at times.
“They were just doing things well,” Collins said. “They passed well, they hit well, they set well, [and] they blocked well.”
Cornell looked the worst in the second game, in which the Bulldogs mounted a tremendous 21-9 lead before a Red rally allowed the team to finish respectably with a 30-17 loss, its worst single-game loss in the conference this season.
In the final game of the match, Cornell came around with too little, too late, as the Red battled back from an early 12-6 deficit after a timeout by Collins to actually take a solid 19-16 lead. This tremendous 13-4 run brought the 1000 person+ crowd right back into the game. However, Yale took a timeout itself and established a quick response with a 14-4 run to silence the crowd and garner the game and the match.
Fortunately, unbeknownst to Collins and Cornell at that point, Harvard had also just dropped a 3-1 decision to Princeton on Friday, leaving the fight for the Ivy title still up in the air. Both squads won their respective ensuing Saturday matches to tie for at least a one-quarter share of the Ivy title.
However, the loss to Yale was a bad one for Cornell, as the Red already struggled against the Bulldogs earlier this season, dropping a 3-2 nailbiter to the Elis several weeks ago in New Haven. As the Ivy playoffs approach, Cornell will have to try to get back up to speed and rebound from this second loss to arguably the best team in the conference.
Archived article by Mike Pandolfini
Sun Staff Writer