Now, the games really count.
In its first Ivy League matchup of the season, the Red (4-6, 1-0 Ivy) defeated the Columbia Lions (3-9, 0-1 Ivy) at Levien Gymnasium in New York City, 3-1. Despite a five-game losing streak, the team pulled together and has started off on its quest for a frouth consecutive Ancient Eight crown on the right foot.
“This is the real beginning of our season,” said head coach Deitre Collins-Parker. “From now on, the Ivy League is what matters the most.“
What made the difference was the level play. Every player knew that yesterday’s match was not preparation anymore, it was the kind of match they have been working hard to succeed in since preseason. Success was exactly what motivated the starting lineup, which consisted of senior captain Amy Gordon, junior Emily Borman, Juliana Rogers, Kathryn Woodbury, Katie Marshall, and Erin McCarthy, to attack the smaller, but aggressive Lions hard and win the first two games 30-21 and 30-17, respectively.
“Katie Woodbury stepped up her game a lot and we did some good things,” Collins-Parker said. “They were pretty scrappy and they’ve got some pretty good outside hitters that are able to put the ball away. We just played a little better than we’ve been playing.”
Columbia’s offensive determination helped them prevent Cornell from sweeping the match. In the third game, the Red decided to switch up the lineup slightly and try out some new tactics. However, the Lions were able to capitalize on the confusion and claim its only win of the match, 30-24.
“We came in and messed around with the lineup a little bit and tried some different things and it just didn’t work out,” Collins-Parker said. “We returned to the original lineup in the fourth game.”
In the fourth game, the Red took advantage of its opportunity to put away the Lions for good.
The team had 21 total kills and seven errors in the fourth game compared to only 13 kills and 12 errors in the third. Coming together as a team and playing with necessary desperation, the squad was able to clinch its third win and the match with a score of 30 – 21.
“Amalia Viti (3) was their best hitter and Katie (Woodbury) did a good job slowing her down and stopping her,” Collins-Parker said. “I think that their blocking is about the same but I think that they just had a hard time getting it together and made more mistakes than we did.”
The girls know that the momentum from this win needs to carry them through next weekend, when they take on two more Ivy League foes, Penn and Princeton. However, the confidence and experience gained from a big Ivy victory will help this young squad continue to work hard to improve and grow as a team.
“We just need to continue to play better,” Collins-Parker said. “I think we played okay, but we didn’t play great and we are going to need to play great to beat Penn.”
Now, the games really count.