September 14, 2007

Volleyball Visits D.C. for Invitational

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Last weekend, the volleyball team showed promise, but its 2-2 record also revealed plenty of things to work on. This weekend, the team will have the opportunity to showcase any improvements it hasmade in practice, as it competes against its Patriot League rivals in the American Tournament, in the capital city.
The team will be traveling to D.C. by bus, something that can be a little exhausting for the players.
“Traveling is always kind of taxing,” said senior captain Amy Gordon. “It can end up feeling like a really long weekend. But, it’s also really fun for us, it’s a great time to bond.”
Gordon said that she loves traveling, and always would look forward to it as an underclassman.
“It was just our time,” she said, “with no distractions.”
The American tournament is a new contest that pits four teams from the Ivy League against four teams from the Patriot League. This year the Patriot League challengers will be Army, Nay, American University and Lafayette University. The three other Ivy teams competing will be Penn, Harvard and Columbia. Teams from the same league will not play each other in the tournament.
Head coach Dietre Collins-Parker said that although this year’s tournament has a little more contention than in past years.
“We not only represent Cornell, we’re kid of representing the Ivy League,” she said. “And it’s been a big deal for the Patriot League to show that they’re the Ivy League schools with scholarships. So, I think it will be a very interesting tournament. … Also, this year we were picked as the second best team [for the Ivy League challenger, behind Penn], just the way that we were seeded. And it’s kind of a slap in the face. I think in some ways we have something to prove.”
Gordon said that although there isn’t a lot of bad blood between the teams they will be playing, Cornell has lost to the American squad in the past, something that the Red is not happy about.
“We definitely have that feeling of revenge,” Gordon said. “We could have won that game.”
As far as matchups for the weekend go, the teams Cornell will face this weekend will probably be “comparable” to the ones it faced in the Cornell Invitational, according to Collins-Parker.
“American is the team that has the best history. But I expect that we should be well-matched with the others,” she said.
Collins-Parker also said that while it’s always hard to make predictions about the outcome of the tournament, “I think we have the ability to do well.”
“American is going to be the toughest competition in the tournament,” she said. “If we play to win, we have a chance.”
American has a bigger team than Cornell, including a pair of 6-7 twins, who Collins-parker believes will pose challenges.
Gordon said that each team is different, so the Red will have to adjust its play a little each time, in order to maximize strengths and minimize any weaknesses.
“When we play against a bigger team, you have to set the ball farther up the net,” she said.
Gordn noted that this makes it harder for the opposition to block the ball back.On the other hand, being big can have its disadvantages, such as less speed.
One of the team’ goals for the pre-Ivy season is to come out with at least a .500 record. But with the a very competitive tournamernt looming next weekend, winning this weekend will likely be neccessary for the Red to accomplish this goal.