October 26, 2007

Volleyball Returns Home to Face Princeton and Penn

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Inconsistent would be a fair way to sum up the volleyball team’s experience so far as the team prepares to begin the second half of its Ivy League season against Princeton tonight and Penn tomorrow.
“This season has been unpresaid head coach Deitre Collins-Parker.
The Red (6-12, 3-4 Ivy) is coming off three straight losses, including two in the Ivy League, but can move past the .500 mark in the Ancient Eight with two wins.
However, both Penn and Princeton will present stiff competition. The Tigers are undefeated in Ivy play and the Quakers have only lost to Princeton and Yale thus far.
Cornell’s young team has not been able to build up any momentum from match to match and weekend to weekend this season. Most winning weekends have been followed by two-straight losses the next weekend.
Where the Red has showed some consistency, however, has been at home — going 5-3, compared to 1-9 on the road. Collins-Parker has said that team has more confidence and just plays better overall with the backing of friendly home crowds. Both Penn and Princeton and are coming to East Hill this weekend.
“It’s not the same [away],” Collins-Parker said. “[At home] you have that extra motivation and it’s the court that you practice on.”
While wins at home are only half the equation, they definitely boost confidence to some degree.”
The Red has been on the road since Oct. 13, losing its three road contests in that span. While Collins-Parker thinks winning at home is important, she stresses focusing on winning, both home and away.
“A good home record is important because it’s half of your season,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s good or bad or different, but to be a good team you have to be both good at home and away. But for a young team to be able to defend at home is good.”
Because the Red is a largely young squad, learning has also been huge for Cornell this season. The more playing and practicing time the team gets in, the more it develops.
“I think that we are constantly learning,” Collins-Parker said. “I don’t think that things have come together enough. But I do think that we’ve learned a lot from the matches we’ve played.”
Collins-Parker also emphasized that learning doesn’t mean losing and that a transitional season is not necessarily a bad one.
“Just because you’re learning doesn’t mean you don’t win,” she said.
So, at the midpoint of the season, it is hard to say when the team will finally get it.
“As a young team you can’t put a time limit on that, clearly,” Collins-Parker said.
Given Princeton’s record and reputation, Cornell will have to step up its game if it wants to win the match, as well the following against Penn. Collins-Parker thinks the Red has shown during matches that it is talented enough to play at the level of the best teams, but has just been incapable of sustaining that level of play.
“We watched a video today of [the team] versus Princeton,” Collins-Parker said. “And we realized we really just beat ourselves. We made mistakes that gave them points. And you just can’t give them points.”