The Cornell volleyball team was given a second chance. And did it ever take advantage of it with a 3-0 victory on Saturday against Brown to secure a piece of the Ivy League championship. The size of that piece is all that is yet to be determined, with the possibility of a four-way tie still remaining.
Both Cornell and Harvard split their matches this weekend, finishing the season with a 10-4 record. However, with both teams losing on Friday night, Princeton and Yale climbed back into the picture. Both teams sit at 9-4 with home matches coming up on Wednesday. If the Tigers and Bulldogs are able to defeat Penn and Brown respectively, a four-team playoff will ensue.
“None of us know what will happen in that situation,” said co-captain Kelly Kramer. “We are more concerned about what we can do.”
All that is known is that the Red will be involved and the team could not be more thrilled.
“We are really excited,” Kramer said. “We worked really hard and it is nice to know that we have at least a share of the title.”
The amazing part of it all is the way the Red was able to bounce back in an absolutely must-win situation. To say the team was disappointed after being swept by Yale on Friday night is an understatement. How couldn’t it be? With two victories, the Red would have claimed an Ivy League title for the first time since 1993 and Cornell’s first fall sport title since 1998. But it let the opportunity slip away on its home court against the Bulldogs.
However, the emotional roller coaster continued its course after the match, when the team received news that the Crimson had also faltered against the Tigers. Given another opportunity, the Red responded in one of the most important matches in team history.
“Friday was disappointing,” Kramer said. “We didn’t play well and Yale played very well. We talked about it as a team and it just came down to needing to play point for point, which is something we just were not doing. We focused on that much better in the match against Brown.”
Although it was a 3-0 sweep, Brown did not exactly roll over. The Red won the first game fairly easily, 30-20, but found itself down 29-27 in the second. But, with its back against the wall, the team showed its championship form, winning four out of the next five points, starting with a kill by sophomore Elizabeth Bishop.
As she has all year long, Bishop led the way for Cornell with a match-high 18 kills. But, she did so with a whole lot of help from the junior class. Hayley Grieve added 12 kills and 12 digs. Whitney Fair totaled 40 assists. And Kramer, the team’s defensive leader, pitched in 10 digs.
“When the current junior class came in the program was strong,” Kramer said. “And everybody that has come and gone has worked hard to better it every year. Last year, we came so close and this team just worked so hard in the offseason, all throughout the spring and summer, to reach the top.”
For the match, the Red hit .308 and held its opponent to a .121 clip. Also, Cornell out blocked the Bears 11-4.
“We felt confident all along that we could win if we played well,” Kramer said. “We knew Brown was not just going to hand us the match. It shows how far we have come along mentally as a team. We just would not accept two bad matches in a row.”
Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Staff Writer