After taking two wins in three matches on the road over fall break, the volleyball team is ready to take another important road trip down a highway well known to many Cornellians — the New Jersey Turnpike.
Cornell (8-6, 3-1 Ivy) will first get off the Turnpike at Exit 8 and head over to Princeton where the Tigers will await them for a showdown tonight. When that’s over, the Red will head south to Exit 4 and take on fellow Ivy League member Penn on Saturday.
So far this year, the Red has played well on the road against the Ivies, as evidenced by its recent victories at Brown and Columbia. Even though last Saturday’s loss to Yale was a tough one to swallow, head coach Deitre Collins-Parker feels her team will have to be avoid looking back in order to be successful this weekend.
“I think we’ve got to play really good volleyball this weekend,” Collins-Parker said. “We’re going in tied with Princeton, so it’s a really important match. So far, Princeton has had a really good year. I think they slipped a little bit in their loss to Dartmouth, but I think they are a pretty good team.”
Princeton (12-1, 2-1) lost all three games it played against Dartmouth in that contest last Friday. Thus, Cornell should expect Princeton to come out firing from the get-go tonight, knowing it cannot lose two conference games in a row and still remain in contention for the championship.
Lindsay Ensign will be the primary offensive threat for the Tigers, as she leads the Ancient Eight with 4.52 kills per game. Princeton boasts strength in all positions, as setter Bailey Robinson paces the conference with 12.98 assists per game and Emily Turner is second in the league with 4.50 digs per game.
Penn (6-8, 1-2) emerged victorious last Friday against Harvard, so it will be looking to continue its winning streak against Cornell on Saturday.
Last year, Cornell’s road contest against Princeton resulted in a straight game, 3-0, loss. In addition, its road match last year against Penn was a match it would like to forget about — a nail-biter won by Penn in the decisive fifth game. Collins-Parker is not expecting déjà vu this year, however.
“We need to be prepared to play hard in both of these matches,” Collins-Parker said. “Last year, our only two matches that we lost in the conference were on the road at Penn and Princeton. We are planning to avenge those losses and expect both of these teams to play hard to beat us.”
One player that will need to play well for Cornell to be successful today and tomorrow is senior captain Elizabeth Bishop. Bishop was named to the Ivy League’s honor roll this week after her performances in last weekend’s matches.
“It was very exciting to be honored on the Ivy League website,” Bishop said. “I personally think that I still have a lot of things to work on and it is exciting to be recognized. I’m also very excited forthis weekend coming up for our whole team and am looking forward to winning two matches at Princeton and Penn.”
Another player that needs to make her presence known this weekend is senior Katie Rademacher. Rademacher has had some back problems this week and will not practice until today before leaving for Princeton. Collins-Parker hopes she will be up to par by 7:00 tonight or the Red will need another middle blocker to step up.