After a long back and forth volley that featured diving saves and scrambles from both teams, Cornell senior Rachel Adomat drove home a kill to win the game and match over Butler, as well as the tournament for the Red volleyball team.
“[Cornell is] a really experienced, well-seasoned team,” said Butler head coach Sharon Clark. “And they’re really good at executing in those critical moments.”
The Red (4-2) swept through the Cornell Invitational, recording wins over La Salle, Colgate, and Butler by identical 3-0 scores. Adomat was the star on a dominating squad, notching 4.75 kills per game and hitting .375 over the course of the tournament.
“The teams coming together really well – everyone on the team can step up at anytime and just play awesome,” Adomat said. “That’s a really good thing for the future.”
Based on this weekend’s results, the future – both near and far – looks bright for the Red. Nearly every player on the roster saw time on the court, and strong individual performances went equally deep into the lineup.
On Friday night, the Red took a match from La Salle (6-5) in games of 30-19, 30-15, and 30-18. Cornell manhandled a younger, weaker squad, registering 12.5 blocks to the Explorers’ six, and outhitting its opponent, .292 to -.017. Senior co-captain Whitney Fair took the first serve, and led the Red to a 4-0 lead before La Salle could get on the scoreboard. Junior Alaina Town led the Red with nine kills and five blocks assists, while Fair and sophomore Amy Gordon had 21 and 17 assists, respectively, and senior co-captain Kelly Kramer led both teams with 14 digs from her libero position. The Bulldogs got a strong match from outside hitter Susan Henri, who had a double-double with 19 kills and 18 digs.
The Red Raiders (1-11) could not put up much more of a fight the next day, as the Red dispatched them 30-20, 30-19, and 30-14. Adomat emerged as a force to be reckoned with, getting 17 kills on 31 attempts. Kramer led the Red again with 12 digs, and Fair notched 14 assists in only one game of play. As a team, the Red had only nine attack errors and hit .394, compared to Colgate’s .096 mark.
Butler (5-6) proved to be the toughest competition of the weekend for the Red, but Cornell was again the victor in consecutive games with wins of 30-17, 30-19, and 30-23. Kramer had 14 digs in this match, while Adomat added 15 kills and four digs of her own. Junior Elizabeth Bishop matched Adomat with 15 kills of her own, while Fair contributed 42 assists and 10 digs.
“[Butler] was definitely the game that we wanted to win,” Adomat said. “I think we went into it just knowing that we could handle them if we just did what we knew that we were capable of doing, what we’ve done every day in practice.”
The desire to win was apparent in every member of Red’s squad, as the team got big plays at key moments from a number of players, including a front line of senior Heather Young and junior Joanna Weiss and the deadly outside presence of Bishop. Although the Bulldogs proved to be the toughest opponent to shake, the Red pulled together point after point.
“I think that’s kind of how we need our season to go,” said Cornell head coach Deitre Collins. “We need to rise to the big occasions. Sometimes it’s normal to play at the level of your opponents and Butler’s an athletic team and they exposed some weaknesses so that was huge. – Last year we did it, we didn’t do it against as good of teams. Butler was a good competition for us, and for us to beat them 3-0 lets me know that we’re on the right track.”
Adomat was named the most valuable player of the tournament, and Kramer joined her on the All-Tournament team. Also named to the team were Christa Dominick of La Salle, Susana Henri and Candice Washington of Butler, and Katrina Zawojski of Colgate.
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Assistant Sports Editor