October 15, 2008

Red Splits Ivy Play Over Break

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While the rest of the campus was enjoying its rarely-given period of R and R, the volleyball team was out trying to prove that despite its overall record, the Red can beat anyone in the Ivy League. And despite losing to last year’s Ivy champions, the Princeton Tigers on Saturday, 0-3, and Colgate, 1-3, last night, the Red beat Penn, 3-1, and is now 3-1, third in the Ivy standings. Along the way, junior libero Meagan Mushovic broke Cornell’s career dig record, scoring her 1,357th dig against the Tigers, breaking the record set by Kelly Kramer, ’05.
The Red (4-10 overall) played a tough home match against Penn on Friday night. The Quakers (4-10, 0-2 Ivy) may have lost three games to one, but they stayed with Cornell the entire night, fighting for each game. In the end, a well-rounded attack coupled with a consistently stellar defense tipped the match in Cornell’s favor.
[img_assist|nid=32651|title=Momentous middle moments|desc=Senior middle blocker Emily Borman’s (15) block in the second set against Penn shifted the momentum in Cornell’s favor.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“We just played really well as a team,” senior captain Hilary Holland said.
The first match of the game started out with Penn in front, holding a 14-11 lead at the halfway mark. The Red came back to tie the game at 18 apiece, before finishing the Quakers off, 25-22.
The second game was a back and forth battle, with Penn holding the slight points edge, but Cornell always battling back to tie it up. Ultimately, a big play from senior middle locker Emily Borman was the momentum shift Cornell needed to come through for the win, 26-24.
Penn grabbed a 10-5 lead in the third match, and though Cornell mounted a late comeback, it was unable to make up all of the difference, losing its first set, 25-21.
Not to be outdone, Cornell earned its own lead in the fourth game and refused to let Penn challenge for the lead, taking the set easily, 25-16, to win the match.
In general, Cornell’s middle blockers had a banner day, with Borman racking up 11 kills, junior Juliana Rogers adding 10 and freshman Kelly Hansen tallying 10 as well. Hansen had an impressive match, hitting 35 percent along with four digs and nine block assists.
“[Harman] has really been improving every day,” Holland said.
Unfortunately for the Red, the team that showed up to play Princeton (9-2, 3-0) Saturday night was not the same one that battled Penn for the hard-fought victory.
“We just didn’t come out with the same intensity [on Saturday] as we did on Friday,” Holland said.
A far more tentative Cornell lost the first game without too much struggle, 25-15.
“I don’t think we played as well as we could have,” Holland said, placing the blame squarely on Cornell’s shoulders. “We really let [Princeton] dictate what was happening.”
The second game was a much more competitive match, and the Red was able to take a couple of leads, only to watch the Tigers tie it back up. The Tigers finally slipped past, 27-25.
The last game was a lot like the first — unfortunately for the Red — and the Tigers won the game, and the match, without much trouble, 25-18.
Mushovic broke Kramer’s record in the third set, finishing with 18 digs for the night.
Although the team would have loved to have won, Mushovic’s achievement did not go unnoticed by her peers.
“That’s an awesome achievement for her,” Holland said.
Holland said the team talked after the match about what it needs to do to avoid the kind of off-night it suffered against Princeton.
“We need to be much more consistent,” Holland said, “if we’re going to continue to win in the Ivy League.”
Last night, Cornell traveled to Hamilton, N.Y., and lined up across the net from its third opponent in four days.
Colgate (6-10) lost the first game to an energized Red team. Cornell held a 15-10 advantage and then continued its streak, winning handily, 25-14. Holland had 12 assists in the game and the Red hit .387 in the set.
“In the first game Colgate played pretty bad and we took advantage of that,” Holland said.
But the Raiders adjusted quickly, something the Red was slow to do, and it showed in the next three games, as Colgate won the next three games 25-20, 25-23 and 25-23.
Holland tallied 47 assists over the match, while Borman hit .440 with 15 kills and Mushovic added four aces.
“We just couldn’t finish, Holland said. “We probably should have won at least the third game.”
The team will be practicing hard today, concentrating on playing consistently as the Red looks forward to its Ivy doubleheader this weekend against Harvard and Dartmouth.
“We just need to come out ready to play, and ready to win,” she said.