October 19, 2006

Raiders Edge Volleyball

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Finally getting off the road after five consecutive away matches, Homecoming for the Cornell volleyball team was spoiled last night as Colgate took the final two games to defeat the Red in heartbreaking fashion, 3-2.

“Overall, we didn’t play as well as we can,” said head coach Deitre Collins-Parker. “We’re disappointed with the loss.”

Early on, it appeared that Cornell was headed for victory after cruising to a 30-23 win in the opening game. However, the Red Raiders struck back immediately as they maintained at least a four point advantage throughout the second game en route to a 30-24 triumph.

In the pivotal third game, the Red grabbed a quick 7-4 lead and never fell behind as it won 30-25 to move within one game of clinching the match.

The key moment in that contest took place as the Red used an 8-3 run following a Cornell timeout with the score knotted at 22 in order to finish out the game. Sophomore Emily Borman led the charge, contributing a pair of kills and blocks in that effort.

That momentum, however, was short-lived as Colgate again responded to its deficit by taking the next game, 30-24. Finally, in the final game, the Red Raiders clawed out a close, 16-14, victory to clinch the match.

“Colgate blocked much better in those final two games and we didn’t block as well,” Collins-Parker said. “That made the difference.”

Errors plagued the Red throughout the match. The Red committed a combined 18 errors on its serve and serve receives, compared to just 10 for Colgate.

“[The errors with serves] as well as missed communication and missed cues hurt us,” the coach said. “We did not play disciplined … it was a match we shouldn’t have lost.”

Although the loss was a tough one for the Red to swallow, there still were several bright spots for Cornell. In what could be considered a breakout game, Borman dominated at the net for much of the night as she collected 14 kills on .292 hitting and also led the Red with 13 blocks.

“She came out and played extremely well,” Collins-Parker said. “It was nice to be able to give her the extended playing time that she really hasn’t gotten all year. It makes us as a team better because it gives her more confidence and now she’ll be ready to go when we need her.”

Seniors Alex Dyer and Joanna Weiss also had impressive performances at the net for Cornell, contributing 17 and 15 kills, respectively. Weiss also hit .522 for the night, raising her team-leading attack percentage to an impressive .394 for the season.

Junior setter and co-captain Amy Gordon helped create many of those kill opportunities, collecting 50 of the team’s 63 total assists. Meanwhile, freshman libero Megan Mushovic and Dyer led the squad with 12 digs apiece.

Nursing slight injuries, both the team’s leading hitter, Senior co-captain Elizabeth Bishop, and leading blocker, senior Katie Rademacher, were on the sidelines for almost the entire match.

“We wanted them to get healthy and both be ready to go for this weekend’s big Ivy League matches,” Collins-Parker said.

Cornell will next be in action Friday as it hosts Dartmouth at 7:00 p.m. before welcoming Harvard to town the next night.