November 6, 2007

Volleyball Sweeps Columbia in Home Finale

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The volleyball team has had its high and lows this season, and during some of those low points it didn’t seem like the team would ever be able to pull itself up again.
But going into the last two games of the season, the Red finds itself riding high after beating Yale Saturday and then continuing its win streak with a decisive sweep of Columbia last night, 30-21, 32-30 and 30-15, in the team’s final home stand of the year.
With the win, the Red moves to 8-15 overall and 5-7 in Ivy play, with the chance of improving to a respectable .500 by the close of the season.
“Finishing .500 will put us right in the middle of the pack,” said head coach Deitre Collins-Parker.
Despite being locked out of the Ivy playoffs this year, Cornell has not shown any signs of throwing away its last games of the season.
“It’s just important to stay on track with our goal of continuing to get better,” Collins-Parker said. “And I think that it’s going to help us this weekend.”
The first game of the match started out with a 7-10 Columbia advantage before the Red came back to tie the score up at 13 points each. After that, Cornell pulled ahead for good, winning the game by nine points.
“Columbia made a lot of errors,” Collins-Parker said. “They missed quite a few serves.”
Cornell jumped at the chance to capitalize on the Lions’ mistakes, according to Collins-Parker.
The second game would prove to be not quite so easy for Cornell.
“In Game 2, [the Lions] changed it up a lot,“ Collins-Parker said. “And we just didn’t adjust well.”
Columbia blocked a lot better and hit better as well in an attempt to slow Cornell’s momentum.
The game dragged on, with both teams battling hard for points, but Cornell would eventually win it by a slim margin of two.
With two games to its credit, Cornell went into the decisive Game 3 full of confidence, and it showed. The team jumped out to a 10-5 start and then held the advantage. Columbia was not able to come back from so many points behind, and Cornell easily took the game and ultimately the match.
Collins-Parker said that one of the key differences between this game and some of Cornell’s other losses was the Red’s aggressiveness.
“We forced [the other team] to make the errors, “ she said. “We played good defense. [Columbia’s] not a very big team.”
The Cornell offense also had an effective night on the court.
“We ran a really balanced attack,” Collins-Parker said. “[Senior setter Amy Gordon] is just getting better and better. She made good choices as our quarterback and mixed it up well.”
Freshman outside hitter Alessa Cekauska led the team with 16 kills with a .414 hitting percentage.
Fellow freshman Kelly Karmann got a chance to play at middle blocker in Game 2, and contributed four kills to the winning effort. Gordon added 31 assists in just three games along with seven digs. In what is now a common occurrence, sophomore libero Megan Mushovic recorded 37 digs, the seventh time this season she has tallied over 30 digs in one match.
Sophomore Juliana Rogers and junior Kathryn Woodbury also added praiseworthy performances.