October 12, 2007

Red, Green, Crimson, Pink to Fill Newman

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If the promise of some exciting competition is not enough to get you in the stands at Newman Arena tonight and tomorrow, then “Passionately Pink for the Cure” — a breast cancer prevention fundraiser — not to mention a banner dedication ceremony should definitely convince you to make the trip.
This weekend the Red (4-9, 1-2 Ivy) takes on two more Ivy League foes, Harvard (6-10, 1-3 Ivy) and Dartmouth (11-3, 4-0). It is the team’s first home match after 10 road contests.
“Playing at home is what you get fired up for because your friends and your family are there,” said head coach Deitre Collins-Parker. “It’s hard to get that same motivation on the road and it’s been a lot of sleeping away. If nothing else we’ll just enjoy playing in front of a crowd that’s for us.”
Despite the excitement surrounding this weekend, the squad has been working hard this week to prepare for Harvard, a team that is also working to overcome inexperience. After two losses to Penn and Princeton last weekend, Cornell hopes has to play a consistent, aggressive game to prevent falling farther in the Ivy League rankings.
“I think we’ll match up well,” Collins-Parker said. “We’re similar in a lot of ways. They’re young and struggling as well right now, just trying to find themselves. It will be a battle of the teams that think they should be doing better than they are.”
The Red is also hosting “Passionately Pink for the Cure,” a fundraising event to support breast cancer research and prevention. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month so the team is asking that everyone wear pink to its match against Harvard and encouraging everyone to donate five dollars to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.
Fans who are able to make a donation will receive a pink pin to wear during the match and for the remainder of the month to show their support for the cause.
“Most people know someone that’s been affected,” Collins-Parker said. “We’ve already had 950 dollars donated and our goal was a thousand. So we are just really excited to be able to do something to help.”
Tomorrow the Red will need to increase its intensity even more in order to compete against an unexpectedly strong Dartmouth squad. The Green recently defeated Yale, a team who was expected to claim the Ivy title this season. While the Red focused primarily on Harvard in practice this week, Collins-Parker says the team must maintain its energy for what promises to be a very challenging match tomorrow.
“They are playing well and pretty balanced,” Collins-Parker said. “Right now, Dartmouth and Princeton are the teams to beat. [Dartmouth] beat Yale, which was big. Everybody expected Yale to have a good year so when Dartmouth came in and beat them it was like, ‘whoa,’ we need to take a good look at what Dartmouth is doing.”
This weekend is also alumni weekend for the women’s volleyball team. Four of the five players who graduated last year will be returning for the 2006 championship banner unveiling. This special ceremony and unveiling will take place in between the second and third games against Dartmouth tomorrow.
“It’s exciting to have that group here because they were definitely a part of all three of the championships.” Collins-Parker said.
It’s going to be an action packed weekend for the Red, but it hasn’t forgotten an Ivy title might be at stake. First and foremost, the girls are working hard to improve at every aspect of their game and this weekend they need that hard work to pay off.
“We won’t know that we’ve bounced back [from last weekend] until [tonight], but we just keep practicing and trying to get better at the things we are struggling with,” Collins-Parker said. “I just want us to play a more consistent game so that we play at a high level and stay there and finish out the game.”