October 3, 2008

Volleyball Goes for Sweep of Columbia

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The Red will look to down Ivy rival Columbia for the second time in a week when Cornell rolls into New York City for the second matchup of the Ivy season. Cornell will take on the Lions at 7 p.m. tomorrow, then play a non-conference match against Long Island University on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Cornell (2-7, 1-0 Ivy) won its Ivy opener over the Lions (5-4) in a straight-sets victory at home last Saturday. Although Columbia did not manage to win a game in the match, the battle was more back-and-forth than the score reveals. The Lions held the lead in the first and third games of the match but Cornell was able to rally and take both frames to get off to a good start to the Ivy season.
[img_assist|nid=32378|title=Spirit fingers|desc=Freshman Kelly Hansen (4) teams up with junior Juliana Rogers (14) to smother the opposition.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“I was really, really happy with the way we played [Columbia],” said head coach Deitre Collins-Parker of her team’s win last weekend. “I think [the win] was important, because the fear is when you lose a lot of matches that the team loses its confidence.”
Columbia is coming off back-to-back losses at the Cornell Invitational last weekend. The Lions dropped a tough five-game match to Robert Morris University earlier in the day before the loss to Cornell. Senior Amalia Viti led Columbia’s offense for the day — she tallied 38 of the Lions’ 84 kills and hit .258. Ellie Thomas led the team with 28 digs.
Long Island split its matches last weekend; it pulled out a nail-biter of a five-game win over Albany then fell to Yale, 3-0. The 26-24, 17-25, 25-27, 28-26, 20-18, victory over Albany snapped a three-match losing streak for the Blackbirds, but they fell later in the day in a lopsided loss to Yale, 25-14, 25-16, 25-20.
Junior Svetlana Simic did it all for the Blackbirds last weekend. She posted a double-double against Albany with a match-high 24 kills and a school-record 33 digs. She had 30 kills and 50 digs for the weekend. Martina Racic is another offensive threat for the Blackbirds — she added 15 kills in both the Yale and Albany matches.
The Red volleyball players are all excited to get into the thick of their Ancient Eight season, beginning with the match at Columbia.
“All of the seniors’ goals are to win the Ivies,” said senior captain Hilary Holland. “Even if we don’t, I’ll be happy if we came back [and know we played our hardest].”
Junior Juliana Rogers was the Red’s most productive offensive threat last weekend against Columbia. The 6-1 middle blocker racked up 16 kills. Senior middle blocker Emily Borman added eight kills and Holland totaled 38 assists and four blocks. Rogers is playing her first season at the middle blocker position and has drawn praise from the coaches thus far.
“Every week she’s just continued to get better and better,” Collins-Parker said.
The team prides itself on its depth and versatility, and as it gets into the thick of its season, it will need everyone on the roster to continue to improve week-in and week-out.