September 22, 2006

Red Travels to Long Island For Tourney

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After finishing 1-2 in its own tournament a week ago, the volleyball team (4-3) will wrap up pre-conference play with three games at the Courtyard by Marriott LaGuardia Invitational in Brooklyn, N.Y., this weekend.

The Red will open against St. Francis (0-9) tonight before taking on San Francisco and Long Island in a pair of matches tomorrow.

“San Francisco and Long Island have both played very well so far this year,” said head coach Deitre Collins-Parker. “They should be at least as tough as any competition we will see in the Ivy League.”

Currently ranked No. 27 in the nation by the AVCA/CSTV Coaches Poll, San Francisco enters the tournament riding a 10-game winning streak. The Dons have also won all three early-season tournaments in which they have participated.

Meanwhile, Cornell is all too familiar with the tournament host, Long Island, after it swept the Red, 3-0, in the first round of the NCAA tournament a year ago. Unlike San Francisco, however, LIU will come into its own tournament on a cold streak after three consecutive losses.

[img_assist|nid=18481|title=Kill joy|desc=Senior outside hitter Alex Dyer (19) delivers a kill attempt against St. John’s last Friday.|link=popup|align=left|width=55|height=100]

“It’s definitely on our minds to avenge that loss from last year,” Collins-Parker said. “You always want to beat the team that beat you, especially in a crucial situation. We’re definitely looking forward to that match.”

As for the match against St. Francis, it will be just the second historical meeting between the two teams. Two years ago, Cornell got past the Terriers, 3-0, at the Binghamton Invitational.

Overall, Collins-Parker is looking forward to the three matches so that the Red will have the opportunity to work on any kinks before it kicks off its Ivy League schedule at home against Columbia next weekend. Specifically, she is looking for her squad to become better at not allowing extended lapses in play to put them into tight spots.

“I hope to see more consistency,” Collins-Parker said. “We’ve played at a high level at times this year, but we haven’t been able to sustain it. We’ll have to do that this weekend if we want to play San Francisco and Long Island tough.”

For the Red, two of the most important players in fostering that consistency are its captains, senior outside hitter Elizabeth Bishop and junior setter Amy Gordon, who rarely leave the court for Cornell for the most part.

The reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, Bishop is currently second in the league, averaging 4.41 kills per game and is also second on the team with 2.56 digs per game.

Meanwhile, Gordon, who split time at the setter position a year ago, has smoothly transitioned into her new full-time role. She currently ranks second in the Ivies with 11.31 assists per game while also contributing 2.27 digs per contest.

Surrounding the captains, the Red has also received strong early-season performances from a cast of other players.

Senior middle blockers Katie Rademacher and Joanna Weiss have both been forces at the net, averaging 1.63 blocks and 1.37 blocks per game, respectively. Weiss also leads the team with a .364 hitting percentage and is third on the team with 2.81 kills per game.

Freshman libero Meagan Mushovic and senior outside hitter Alex Dyer have also stepped up to fill important roles for Cornell. Mushovic has averaged a team high 4.15 digs per game through her first two collegiate tournaments and Dyer is second on the team with 3.19 kills per game.