With a marquee matchup against first-place Yale looming around the corner this Friday, the volleyball team is understandably a bit preoccupied. However, Cornell’s date with Yale will have to be put on hold until after tonight’s home match against Syracuse.
Cornell (11-8, 6-2 Ivy) is coming off a stellar weekend in which it posted two huge conference wins against rivals Dartmouth and Harvard. The women are now 5-3 in their last eight matches, and it appears that the momentum is finally back on their sides after a slight bumpy five-match stretch on the road. The only game that they dropped all weekend long was their third game against Harvard, 30-24.
[img_assist|nid=19151|title=Net gain|desc=Sophomore Kathryn Woodbury goes up for a block against Harvard last Saturday. (Kuan-Wei Chen / Sun Staff)|link=popup|align=left|width=71|height=100]
Syracuse (10-18, 4-5 Big East) is also coming off a great weekend where it posted two conference wins against West Virginia and Pittsburgh. In its most recent match against Pittsburgh, Syracuse set school records for most points in a match (134), most kills in a match (87) and most assists in a match (81). In addition, junior Joscie Kaup tied the school record of 33 digs in a five-game match, while sophomore April Quigley recorded 72 assists against the Panthers, two shy of the school record. No doubt about it, Syracuse is hot, and its 7-2 record in October provides even more evidence to that point.
Head coach Deitre Collins-Parker is actually glad that Syracuse is on a hot streak. She believes the match will be a great prelude before the huge contest on Friday against Yale.
“Obviously, we are going to have to compete well against Syracuse,” Collins-Parker said. “They have been playing very well, especially in October. They are also pretty athletic. It will actually be a good match for us to have to play our best to prepare for this weekend.”
The Red faithful remember all too well that the Orange stopped the Red’s nine-match winning streak last year in a five-game thriller at the Carrier Dome. Even though Cornell was missing senior co-captain Elizabeth Bishop for last year’s contest, Syracuse has proven that it can definitely bring a high level of play to the court. Even the year before that, the Orange defeated the Red, 3-1, on Cornell’s home turf despite a healthy Bishop contributing 26 kills on offense.
So for now, the focus is temporarily on Syracuse. Tonight’s match will in fact be the Red’s final non-conference match of the season. However, the main focus of this week will be on the Yale match this Friday. Also, not to be forgotten, the Red has an afternoon match on Saturday against Brown (8-12, 4-4).
“This is a big, big weekend for us,” Collins-Parker said. “We are really hoping that we get a good turnout because every time we play at Yale, the crowd has been fired up to yell against us. We are hoping we can do the same thing to Yale this weekend. Playing this weekend is a chance for us to get back in the running for a chance to win the title.”