Kicking off Ivy League play against Columbia last weekend, the volleyball team dropped its first match of the season with a 3-1 loss.
“After our first set — we did play pretty well, we hit really well and executed our game — seeing that simple that seemed, we all eased up a little bit too much. We underestimated their comeback after the first game,” said junior Kelly Hansen.
Cornell (2-8, 0-1 Ivy) took the first set, 25-21, before losing the next three to Columbia (8-2, 1-0 Ivy). The Lions’ winning sets tallied scores of 15-25, 13-25 and 20-25.
“We eased up and allowed the Columbia team to make some adjustments and come back on a more aggressive manner that we weren’t prepared to counteract,” said head coach Sarah Bernson.
The Lions proved stronger than the Red offensively during the match, with its lead player registering 21 kills, 15 digs and just three errors.
Columbia took advantage of Cornell’s weakness in serve receives, a move that proved to be a deciding factor in the game. The Lions switched gears after the first set, utilizing its tricky float serves to throw off the Red.
“They changed their serving. They were doing some jump and float serves at us and they just went with the pure float serve to challenge us short and deep and we didn’t adjust,” Bernson said.
Starting off the point with a weak return, Cornell couldn’t utilize the systems it had been working on all week because the team was spending more time playing in a defensive mode.
“We weren’t handling their serves in a system-wide with all three people working together,” Bernson said.
Another stumbling block for the Red was the amount of unforced errors it tallied. The combination of these mistakes caused Cornell to lose some crucial points.
“We had some of our primary passers struggle and not pass their usual best, and whenever you don’t pass your typical or strong passing game, it’s hard to be in system,” Bernson said.
This first conference match was a good starting point for the Red to take inventory on what it needs to tweak in the coming weeks.
“We don’t have to change too much. We just have to take care of our ball handling, and pursuing balls that are in our defensive range and trying to minimize errors on the offensive end. It just comes down to our ball handing and trying to minimize our unforced errors,” Bernson said.
Columbia may have taken the win in Cornell’s first Ivy match last weekend, but the Red will have another chance to overcome its obstacles, as it faces the Lions again on Saturday.
“It’s a good starting game because we learned a lot from it and we get to apply it really quickly,” Hansen said.
In terms of preparing for the upcoming game, Cornell can tailor practices to countering Columbia’s style of play.
“We’ll probably work more on controlling the ball and passing,” said sophomore outside hitter Deveney Pula. “One of our biggest problems this weekend was that we couldn’t make the plays we wanted to because we didn’t have the passes.”
“Next week when they come up to Bartels to play us, I think we’re definitely going to be more prepared,” Hansen added. “It’s really fresh in our minds and we know exactly what to expect and what we need to learn from. Being able to play them a week later is a good learning experience for the team.”
Original Author: Laura Dwulet