SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Every cloud has a silver lining, and this was true for the volleyball team last night. Although the Red came away with a 3-2 loss to Syracuse (15-7, 4-2 Big East), head coach Deitre Collins felt that the team demonstrated the potential to take its game to the next level. The match, however, did end a nine-game winning streak for Cornell (10-3, 3-0 Ivy), which included wins over league opponents Brown (4-10, 1-2 Ivy) and Yale (11-2, 2-1 Ivy) earlier this weekend.
“Syracuse is the level we want to be at,” Collins said. “So knowing that we went five [games], and that the match could have gone either way, lets us know that we’re at a higher level than we have been in the past and that’s the direction we want to continue to work in.”
The Red got off to a slow start, dropping the first game, 30-24. Cornell had a slight advantage in the second game, taking an early 3-0 lead, but the Orange quickly made up the difference.
The two teams battled back and forth to the end – the scored was tied 11 times over the course of the game – before junior outside hitter Thais Mirela hit one of her 17 kills to give the Red a 33-31 victory. The teams proved to be equally matched, with the Orange taking game three, 30-24, and the Red rallying to force a tiebreaker with a 30-26 win in game four. The opponents traded points in the fifth game before Syracuse reeled off four straight points to finish with a 15-11 victory.
Although the Red hurt itself in the end, giving up the final game point on an attack error, the team displayed a balanced attack. Offensive standout, junior Elizabeth Bishop, sat out the match, but Collins did not see this setback as a negative, but rather as an opportunity for others to step up and prove themselves.
They did just that, as junior outside hitter Joanna Weiss had a match-high 19 kills on .484 hitting, while senior blocker Heather Young and senior outside hitter Rachel Adomat added 15 and 17 kills, respectively. Senior libero Kelly Kramer led the defense with 30 digs, while Mirela and senior setter Whitney Fair added 15 and 13, respectively. Fair also had 32 assists, while sophomore setter Amy Gordon contributed 31.
Syracuse had five players in double-digits for kills, with Kelly Duan registering a team-high 16. Aila Dommestrup was a dominant force for the Orange, handing out 62 assists. Three players had more than 10 digs, with Joscie Kaup notching 28.
Red Sweeps Ivy Foes at Home
This tightly contested match followed another emotional match on Saturday, a 4-1 victory over Yale. This was the first rematch between the Elis and the Red since Yale eliminated Cornell in a playoff for the conference’s solo bid to the NCAA tournament.
“It just feels great because we’ve been waiting for this day since last November,” Kramer said. “We’ve come a long way – we want to dominate this year and I think we showed we have the potential to do that.”
In front of large crowd – on hand to help the Red commemorate Banner Weekend and previous championship teams – Cornell took the first game, 30-28. It looked as if the teams were just as evenly matched as last year, however, when Yale rode a 17-11 advantage midway through the game to a 30-27 win. But with memories of last year lingering, the Red came back from a brief intermission and polished off the Elis with 30-28 and 30-23 victories in games three and four, respectively. The team felt that the difference from a year ago was an ability to stay focused and alert down to the last play.
“I think that’s something that really comes from practice lately,” Kramer said. “We have such tough competition at practice now that either side is constantly fighting.”
Weiss, who was named this week’s Ivy League Player of the Week for her efforts over the weekend, scored the game points in the final two contests. She and Mirela both registered impressive efforts for the Red, with 14 kills each. Bishop had a team-best 21 kills over the match, while Fair added 60 assists. Kramer and senior Kristen Hughes anchored the defense with 18 digs each, while Bishop added 12.
Yale had a balanced attack, with four players contributing more than 10 kills. Shannon Farrell had 12 digs, and Jacqueline Becker had 63 assists to pace the Elis.
The first match of the weekend proved to be the smoothest for the Red, as it shook off a rough start to beat Brown, 3-0. The Red found its composure and reeled off 30-25, 30-25, and 30-21 victories against the Bears.
Adomat and Bishop were the constant force at the net for the Red, registering 15 and 13 kills, respectively. Weiss was an additional power against the Bears, chipping in with 10 kills. Fair led Cornell in digs and assists, with 10 and 32, respectively.
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Assistant Sports Editor