September 17, 2007

Volleyball Drops Three of Four

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Looking to improve on last week’s 2-2 tournament record, the volleyball team was unsuccessful this weekend, going 1-3 in the American Volleyball Invitational in Washington D.C. The Red came out hard on Friday, defeating Navy, 3-2, and raising expectations, before losing its next three matches, to American, Lafayette and Army, 3-0, 3-2, and 3-0 respectively. With this tournament, Cornell drops to 3-4 for the season. While all the teams it competed against in D.C. were in the Patriot League, the games will count towards the team’s overall NCAA record.
“We just didn’t play well this weekend,” said head coach Deitre Collins-Parker.
Friday afternoon, Army came out strong, taking the first game, 30-24.
Cornell then came back to win the second game, 30-23. Unwilling to give in, Army regained the match lead with a 30-24 game win. Cornell racked up a 30-21 Game 4 win, forcing Army into game five, which the Red took, 15-11, for the match victory.
“That was a good win for us,” Collins-Parker said. “We showed a lot of heart.”
Freshmen outside hitters Katie Marshall and Erin McCarthy proved that last weekend’s success was no fluke, again producing big numbers, with 18 kills each. Marshall also hit .333, while McCarthy showed she could serve as well as defend, recording three aces.
Last weekend’s all-tournament selection, junior middle blocker Emily Borman, contributed five block assists and nine kills while sophomore libero Megan Mushovic had a match-high 24 digs.
But while Friday’s first game showcased Cornell’s resiliency and team strengths, the host team American had no trouble sweeping the overmatched Red, 30-19, 30-21 and 30-17, in the day’s second match.
Only two Cornell players registered positive hitting percentages, with Borman hitting .182 and junior right side hitter Kathryn Woodbury hit .333 for the match.
American hit 23 percent for the match, compared with Cornell’s overall total of -.017. American also had the statistical advantage in kills, nearly doubling Cornell’s total of 25 with 49, as well as in digs and assists.
Senior captain Amy Gordon accounted for 16 of the team’s 23 total assists, with junior setter Hilary Holland recording the other six.
With the win, American improved its series record with Cornell to 3-0.
American played Ivy challenger Penn for the tournament title late last night.
“I felt like American played really well, maybe at a different level than where we are,” Collins-Parker said.
Searching for better luck on Saturday, Cornell got a quick start against Lafayette hard, winning the first game 30-15.
Lafayette then tied the match at a game apiece, winning the second game 30-28. The Leopards then capitalized on their momentum, carrying the third game 30-27. Cornell forced a Game 4 with a 30-24 triumph, but lost the fifth game, and the match, 15-10.
Collins-Parker said that she felt the Lafayette game was a hard loss for multiple reasons.
“We definitely should have won [the match] in three games,” she said. “We just didn’t play with intensity. And we made a lot of errors. We looked like a young team and we made a lot of young mistakes.”
Despite the loss, the duo of Marshall and McCarthy combined for 36 kills and 31 digs.
Freshman outside hitter Alessa Cekauskas also recorded double-digit numbers, with 10 kills.
Other standout performances came from setter Holland, with a double-double of 32 assists and 11 digs, while libero Mushovic contributed another 18 digs.
Saturday night, Army powered through its match with the Red, winning in straight sets, 30-20, 30-21 and 30-25.
Collins-Parker commented that the team may only improve from more experience with so many underclassmen and players who saw so little last year. For now, she said, the players need to focus on learning to mesh better on the court.
“If we don’t step up in practice, it could be a very rough weekend,” Collins-Parker said.