October 2, 2006

Spikers Open Ivy Slate With Sweep

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Hoping to make a statement in its Ivy League opener Saturday afternoon inside Newman Arena, the volleyball team (6-5, 1-0 Ivy) did more than just that. The two-time defending Ivy League champions swept Columbia (5-5, 0-1 Ivy) in dominating fashion, 30-16, 30-20 and 30-26, to reassert itself as the team to beat in the conference.

[img_assist|nid=18708|title=Reach for it|desc=Senior Katie Rademacher (3) soars at the net for a block against Columbia. (Trevor Vieweg / Sun Contributor)|link=popup|align=left|width=60|height=100]

“We wanted to set a good tone for our Ivy League schedule,” said head coach Deitre Collins-Parker. “We wanted Columbia to leave saying that Cornell is a good team, and I think that’s what they will be saying.”

In a strong all-around effort, Cornell received six or more kills from five different players en route to a .408-to-.111 advantage in attack percentage over the Lions.

“We were able to diversify our offense and get a lot of players contributing,” Collins-Parker said. “It helps us build confidence to see that we have the depth to do that.”

Seniors Joanna Weiss — hitting an impressive .769 — and captain Elizabeth Bishop paced the Red with 11 kills each. Bishop is now just the second player in Cornell history to reach the 1,000-kill and 1,000-dig career marks after reaching 1,011 career digs against the Lions.

Meanwhile, Bishop and Weiss also combined for nine block assists in the Columbia match, moving them both within 10 of reaching the 200 mark for their careers in that statistic.

Other key contributors for Cornell included seniors Katie Rademacher, Alaina Town and Alex Dyer. Rademacher had six kills and three blocks for the Red, while Town made her home debut this season with seven kills off a .400 attack percentage. Dyer had a strong all-around performance with nine kills, seven digs and three blocks.

Utilizing formations involving two setters, Cornell received a combined 40 assists from junior Amy Gordon and sophomore Hillary Holland. The duo also added three digs apiece.

“We want to run a 6-2 set with two setters, but we didn’t have too much success with it in the preseason,” Collins-Parker said. “It was nice to see us use it effectively right from the start of this match.”

In the back row, Bishop led the Red with 10 total digs, while freshman libero, Megan Muschovic, was right behind her with eight digs of her own.

On the other side of the court, Columbia received the bulk of its kills from Cassie Ligh (11), Amalia Viti (10) and Nikki Leaned (nine). Meanwhile, setter Blakely Low led the Lions with 28 assists and libero Ashley Kim led the squad with 13 digs.

Overall, Collins-Parker was satisfied with her team’s play and the energy it showed in its conference opener.

“We played decent,” Collins-Parker said. “We came out excited and motivated to win. … We had a slight let-down in the third game, but played hard when we needed to in order to win it.”

The Red will next play on the road at Brown and Yale next weekend before facing Columbia in rematch in New York City a week from Monday.