Completing a five-game Ivy League road swing, the volleyball team earned a split this weekend, falling to Princeton, 3-1, on Friday evening before sweeping Penn, 3-0, the next day.
“We played okay,” said head coach Deitre Collins-Parker. “The match we lost, we out-hit and out-blocked our opponents. We just had too many errors. On Saturday, the team really rallied together and played with a lot more unity.”
A closely fought battle overall, the match against Princeton (14-1, 4-1 Ivy) opened with a 31-29 Tigers’ victory in a game in which neither team was able to gain more than a 3-point advantage. In the second game, the Red (9-7, 4-2) rallied back from an early 5-0 deficit to knot the score at 10. Nevertheless, Princeton subsequently used a 5-1 run to open a lead and cruise to a 30-23 victory.
The third game went much like the first, as the two teams fought back-and-forth to establish a lead. This time, however, Cornell was able to secure the victory using a 4-2 run to close out the 30-27 victory.
“We made some adjustments and came out with more intensity in that game,” Collins-Parker said. “We also blocked much better.”
Unfortunately, the Red was unable to maintain the momentum as Princeton again used a quick start to spot itself a 6-1 advantage early in the fourth game. Although the Red came back to tie the score at 21 behind seven kills from senior co-captain Elizabeth Bishop, the Tigers eventually took the game 30-25 to clinch the match.
[img_assist|nid=18958|title=Its a bird|desc=Senior Elizabeth Bishop (12) had 35 kills as the volleyball team went 1-1 this weekend on the road.|link=popup|align=left|width=62|height=100]
Though in a losing effort, Bishop put up an impressive performance for Cornell, contributing 25 kills off of .393 hitting, also adding four digs and a service ace. Classmate Joanna Weiss also delivered another strong effort, earning an attack percentage of .500 en route to knocking down 13 kills. She also led the team with three blocks.
“Both [Bishop and Weiss] played phenomenal,” Collins-Parker said. “They both continue to put up great numbers against really good competition.”
Junior co-captain Amy Gordon and sophomore Hilary Holland combined for 47 assists as the team’s two setters, while freshman libero Megan Mushovic led the Red with 15 digs. Senior Alex Dyer also contributed 14 kills and three digs for Cornell.
Against Penn (7-9, 2-3) on Saturday, Cornell again received key performances from several different players as it won close 30-26 and 31-29 games to open the match before finishing the Quakers with a dominant 30-18 win.
As usual, Bishop and Weiss were near the top of Cornell’s stat sheet as the duo combined for 17 kills.
However, seniors Alaina Town and Katie Rademacher and sophomore Kathryn Woodbury may have been the keys to the Red’s victory. Town had 10 kills with a .400 attack percentage, while both Rademacher and Woodbury contributed four kills and five blocks apiece.
“When they have good games, we win,” said Collins-Parker. “It helps us put together a more balanced offense.”
The coach also credited the win to cutting down on many of the mistakes that the team had made before.
“We made some great defensive plays and minimized our errors,” she said.
Cornell now will look forward to coming back to Ithaca for a 6-game homestand after completing its longest road trip of the season. Though for the most part content with her team’s effort on the trip, Collins-Parker still sees room for improvement.
“We beat the teams we should have beat, but not the ones that are more at our competitive level,” Collins-Parker said. “We are absolutely thrilled to be coming home, though — It’s been a long two weeks.”