September 13, 2006

Volleyball Veterans Step Up

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With the loss of key players like Whitney Fair ’06 and Rachel Adomat ’06 to graduation, the volleyball team begins this year’s campaign with hopes of developing new breakout players. Senior Alex Dyer and junior co-captain Amy Gordon are among two of the volleyball team’s potential breakout stars.
Dyer is an outside hitter for the Red. She transferred to Cornell from Seton Hall before the 2005 season, and although she didn’t see a significant amount of playing time, Dyer is poised to make a difference for the Red this year.
“I think it was a big change for her to come from Seton Hall to Cornell, just because things are done so differently here,” head coach Deitre Collins-Parker said. “She had a lot of playing time there and established herself as a good outside hitter. She came here and struggled a little bit trying to adapt to a new system … but we’ve seen Alex make a huge change this year in really our system.”
Dyer led Seton Hall in kills during the 2004 season, with a total of 412 for an impressive 3.75 kills per game average. Last year, Dyer played in 22 games for Cornell and averaged 2.45 kills per game.
“Alex is probably the most athletic person the team,” Collins-Parker said. “She is an incredible athlete — she jumps high, she hits hard, she has good athletic instincts. I think that’s something that the conference will be surprised by.”
Meanwhile, Gordon has emerged as a true team leader in her junior season. The Illinois native played in 20 matches and 46 games last year, sharing time as setter with Fair.
“I think Amy’s personality really lends her to be the organized, [a] take care of business type person,” Collins-Parker said. “I think that’s what she wants to do in life, too. So it’s just a natural thing for her to be a captain. The team voted on it, and a lot of it has to do with her personality.”
Gordon saw a fair amount of playing time as a freshman, playing 40 games 17 matches and averaging 10.40 assists per game. As a sophomore last year, she notched up an 11.11 assists per game average and recorded 112 digs. Gordon was also a second-team Academic All-District selection.
“If Whitney got hurt, Amy really stepped up,” Collins-Parker noted. “It seemed that she was really good at stepping up when she had to. By the end of the season, she was the person that we needed her to be this year.”
Collins-Parker noted the development of Gordon at the setter position, a spot where sophomore Hilary Holland is also competing for playing time this year.
“I think [she has gained] confidence for one,” Collins-Parker said. “She had a lot of playing time. The first few years she still had Whitney; now the focus is on her as being the setter, although she still has Hillary. She has really stepped into the role of being the primary setter on the team.”
The Red made its 2006 debut this past weekend at the Nike Portland Invite, where the squad earned a 3-1 record with wins over Portland, University of Texas-Pan American and High Point, and a loss to Montana. Gordon tallied 162 assists over the weekend for a 10.80 assists per game average.
“We went back and forth between [Gordon] and Hilary … Amy made some changes to our game plan and did some crucial things to help us win,” Collins-Parker said.
Meanwhile, Dyer notched up 45 kills and 25 digs in the Red’s four matches.
“Alex had flashes of brilliance [this weekend], and we know that once Alex really gets settled she can make a big difference in who we are,” Collins-Parker said.[img_assist|nid=18254|title=A spiking success|desc=Senior Joanna Weiss (left) goes up for a block during the volleyball team’s 3-0 home sweep of Columbia on Nov. 7, 2005.|link=popup|align=right|width=100|height=76]