October 31, 2007

Volleyball Players Show Promise

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What happens when your best just isn’t good enough? The volleyball team’s disappointing season is drawing to a close, and although the squad’s two seniors will be moving on, most members of the team will be left to figure out how they can ensure that the 2008-09 is a better one.
There are two weekends and five games left on the Red’s schedule, which after last weekend’s defeats, currently stands at 6-14 overall, and 3-6 in the Ivy League.
“This year has been hard on everybody, to go through these growing pains” head coach Dietre Collins-Parker said. “I really hope we can end on a good note [for the seniors].”
Despite the team’s poor record, however, multiple Cornell players had stand out performances this season. For instance several members of the squad received Ivy and Rookie of the Week honors. This bodes well for next year, since most of these players will be returning to Ithaca more mature, experienced and with an even greater desire to prove themselves.
After the fall season is over, spring practices will begin in order to hone the team members’ skills.
“Spring is the time that people make the most improvements,” Collins-Parker said.
Spring workouts focus on one-on-one Earlier in the season, junior middle blocker Emily Borman was named Ivy League player of the week and made the All-Tournament team at that weekend’s Cornell Invitational. As a sophomore Borman recorded 24 blocks in 22 games to average 1.09 blocks per game for the season.
At this year’s tournament, Borman led Cornell in blocks with a total of 13, averaging 1.1.8 per game. A four-match starter, Borman also averaged 3.55 kills per game and a hit .516. In a career record making match against Sienna, Borman had 17 kills, hit .727 and had 5 blocks. Borman has one more year left.
Borman’s strengths are her “athleticism and quickness, as well as her jump,” Collins-Parker said. She went on to say that Borman needs to improve her blocking and increase her confidence level.
“I think that Emily is capable of having better attacking numbers and being a huge offensive weapon once we find the combination for her,” she said. “We need to tailor [parts of the offense] to fit her.” This type of detailed fine tuning is the type of thing the team doesn’t have time for during the regular season.
Collins-Parker said that last year, when libero Megan Mushovic was still a freshman, the coaching staff already knew she was going to do big things.
“We expected a lot from Meghan anyways,” she said. “We knew when we recruited her that she was going to be good, we just didn’t know how good.”
And the freshman did not disappoint, according to Collins-Parker.
“[This year’s level of play] is where I expect her to be for the rest of her career.”
Mushovic shattered the school record for digs while helping Cornell past Harvard and Dartmouth, both upsets. Mushovic’s total of 50 digs in the first match and 42 in the second, along with her all around near-perfect defensive play captured Mushovic the Ivy League Player of the Week award.
“[Megan] has stepped up when the team is struggling,” Collins-Parker said. “And that is a special quality.
In general, the position of libero is complicated and requires a lot of mental focus. “Megan has a really good understanding of the game,” Collins-Parker said. “It is definitely a very specialized position.”
Although just a freshman, outside hitter Katie Marshall has also distinguished herself as someone with tremendous potential. Marshall was awarded the Ivy Rookie of the Year award this season, after putting up great offensive numbers against Harvard and Brown She also made the Ivy honor roll after her play in the Cornell Invitational.
But according to Collins-Parker, Marshall still has a lot to improve on.
“If Katy puts her mind to it she can be very good,” Collins-Parker said. “She’s probably more athletic than Liz Bishop ’07. But now she needs to be as dominant as Liz was.”
A member on the team who doesn’t necessarily get a lot of recognition is junior setter Hilary Holland.
“Hill has intangibles that maybe not everybody notices,” Collins-Parker said. “She just brings something else to the floor, that ‘je ne sais quoi.’ I think that she has some potential she hasn’t used yet. She will definitely be a leader [next year].”
Given what she believes this group of players can achieve after a season of training, Collins-Parker remains optimistic about the upcoming season.
“We will have depth and experience,” she said. “I think that combination will make us very competitive.”
instruction and infrequent team practices to focus on each individual to elevate her respective game.