September 23, 2010

Volleyball Begins Ivy League Play Against Columbia

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The volleyball team begins the Ivy League season tomorrow at 2 p.m. in New York City against Columbia after learning much from its preseason games. Cornell (2-7) is looking to end a two-game losing streak but faces a red-hot Columbia (7-2) squad that has won seven games in a row.Going into the weekend, the Red has learned much about itself over the past three tournaments. The games were all against tough opponents and were a real test for the team prior to Ivy play.“Our competition over our preseason in every match was a challenging one,” said head coach Sarah Bernson. “It was good for the team to learn not to take a match off.”Every match provided different opportunities that allowed Cornell to gain valuable experience that can be applied during the season. These opportunities will all contribute to a more poised team with a focused mindset. “We’ve been a team where we were behind and had to come back a lot,” said junior captain Meagan Tatum. “But now we learned from Colgate that we can start strong and we just have to finish strong.”Along with this experience, the Red has by now figured out what may lead to more consistent play. Cornell has focused on these aspects throughout the week in hopes of starting the conference season strong.“The level of our energy and emotional intensity are key components to how we do,” Bernson said. “We’ve been getting better at playing our system and the focus and mental involvement now is the deciding factor.”“In practice, we’ve been more aggressive and keeping focus,” Tatum said.There are still some areas though that the team looks to improve on while heading into this weekend’s game. “We need to be more disciplined in transition movements, getting to our base positions and making correct movements based on our opponents,” Bernson said.Despite the record, Cornell has great confidence going into the weekend as the team is starting to come together as a unit. The players, both veterans and young freshmen alike, will need to work with each other to put together a successful and exciting season.“We definitely have a sense of identity in regards to our team and how we play,” Bernson said.“The upper-termers have been focusing and finding our identity so that the freshmen can integrate themselves better,” Tatum said. “This integration has gone well and will hopefully continue throughout the season.”The process will continue this weekend as Columbia hosts Cornell. Cornell has historically done well against Columbia with a 45-5 overall record and has defeated Columbia in 16 out of their last 17 games. History will not matter, though, as the Red knows this game will be a battle.“Columbia is always a good match,” Tatum said. Columbia is also a good first team for Cornell, as both squads face off again the following week. The two schools also have similar schedules for the rest of the season.“We can go neck and neck with them and it is good competition for us,” Tatum said. “[This weekend’s game] can be a good judge for how the rest of the season will go.”

Original Author: Wankyu Lee