October 22, 2007

Volleyball’s Ivy Title Hopes Hurt With Pair of Losses

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The high from last weekend’s doubleheader victory proved to be short lived for the volleyball team, as Cornell matched the twin triumphs with two defeats, losing to Yale, 3-1, on Friday and then to Brown, 3-2, on Saturday. With the losses the Red moves to 6-11 overall, and 3-4 in Ivy play.
“We still have four games at home to show what we can do,” said head coach Dietre Collins-Parker. “It’s never over until it’s over.”
Yale (11-5, 5-2 Ivy) cruised to victory in the first two games of the match, winning 30-16 and 30-14, respectively.
“They just have a lot of balance,” Collins-Parker said. “They’re taller, stronger and hit harder. We have some [tall players] but right now we just don’t have enough total size.”
But Cornell did not fold after the second game, and pushed the match to a fourth game with a close, 31-29 victory in game three. The Bulldogs crushed this momentum shift quickly, however, taking game four 30-19 to win the match.
Freshmen outside hitters Katie Marshall and Erin McCarthy, along with junior middle blocker Emily Borman combined for 31 kills, with Borman also adding six blocks. Sophomore libero Meghan Mushovic contributed a total of 23 digs as well as two aces.
Collins-Parker said that going into the Brown match, she felt that Cornell could come back with a win. “I thought they were definitely a team we should beat,” she said.
And the Red looked very strong in the beginning of the match, as they opened-up a promising two-game lead, winning 30-26 and 30-20, respectively. Brown came back in game three and ended up winning the game 30-24.
In the fourth game Cornell built up a 26-20 lead, before Brown surged back to tie the score. The two teams then battled back and forth for the upper hand, with Brow finally prevailing 42-40. Brown took the match in a close game five, winning 16-14.
“It was a heartbreak,” Collins-Parker said. “We came back after the loss in game three and played better, but then we let it slip away.”
Searching for answers, Collins-Parker said that the problem was mostly in the players’ heads.
“I do think it’s mental,” she said. “We just didn’t put them away when we had the chance.”
She also said that playing games away definitely makes a difference, adding that Cornell tends to play better in front of a home crowd and struggle at away games.
Despite what appears to be the fairly steady numbers put up by the team’s main producers, Collins-Parker said that the stats don’t accurately convey the performances of the players. According to her, although the totals look fine at the end of the night, the performances game-to-game were far less consistent.
“As a whole, we need to be far more consistent individually, and as a team,” she said. “What we did well at home [last weekend] was step up at the end.” But in these games, she said, the team didn’t come up with the big plays when they needed them the most.
The Red will look for redemption tomorrow when they play Syracuse in Newman Arena. But because it is a non-league match, Collins-Parker said she will probably be resting key players and giving her reserves a chance to get more playing experience.