August 27, 2009

Volleyball Adds Height and Depth With Freshman Recruiting Class

Print More

Cornell’s volleyball program has seen a sea of changes in the months since the season ended in 2008. The 2009 season will mark the introduction of a new head coach, a new recruiting class, and a new drive for the top spot in the Ancient Eight.
Head coach Sarah Bernson, who was appointed to the position after former coach Deitre Collins-Parker stepped down from the helm, was formerly one of the team’s assistant coaches. Collins-Parker left Cornell to pursue the head coaching position at San Diego State. Collins-Parker leaves very large shoes to fill for Bernson, the former coach led the Red to three Ivy League titles and two NCAA tournament appearances. Bernson spent five years as Collins-Parker’s protege, and was left in charge of the Red’s recruiting efforts during her time as assistant coach. Her first recruiting class as head coach is made up of taller, more agile players who should present a stronger offense and a more controlled defense for the Red.
[img_assist|nid=37623|title=Going for the Kill|desc=This season, sophomore Kelly Hansen will be joined by a freshman class that matches her in stature on the front line. The class of 2013 adds three players over six feet.|link=node|align=left|width=336|height=235]
This year’s recruiting class is made up of seven freshman from the great volleyball powerhouses of the world. Freshman Ana Vanjak will bring in a degree of international experience, having lived in Croatia and Germany her whole life. Vanjak will be the only international student in the Red’s side of the court this season. Freshman Lucy Zheng also brings international experience, having played three summers in China.
The biggest push with this recruiting class was for additional height for the Red’s front line. Of the seven freshman being added to the roster, five exceed 5-10 and two tower over 6-2. The addition of new height will be welcomed for the Red who only have two returning players who break the six foot barrier.
Freshman Hanna Drake will be an important addition to the Red. Standing at an impressive 6-2, Drake, a native Californian, was named first-team all-tournament at the prep nationals. Her height and power will be important for this season’s drive.
Last season, the Red faced an especially tough schedule, leading to a 10-15 overall record. The extra practice led the Red to a 9-5 record against its Ancient Eight foes, good enough for third in the Ivy League. It’ll be up to Bernson to bring the Red back into championship form, helping it return to the top of the Ivy leader board. This first recruiting class will hopefully provide the elements that the Red was missing last season, helping it move further towards its goals of another Ivy League Championship and a berth into the NCAA tournament.