For years, the volleyball team has been rebuilding for a brighter future, but this season there is reason to believe that future is closer than ever.
With only two seniors on the roster, the Red has relied on contributions from the whole squad.
With 10 juniors and sophomores leading the way for six new freshmen, this season has proven to be a transition year for the maturing team.
Last season, Sarah Bernson took over as head coach after serving as an assistant for five years and led a young Red team, which boasted only five juniors and seniors, to a 3-11 record in the Ivy League and 6-19 overall mark.
Although the team remains young this season with the addition of six freshmen, Cornell (4-11, 2-4 Ivy) has been sporting an improved look early in the season.
“We’re a little bit older,” Bernson said. “This is my second year, and they’ve grown more comfortable with me and the systems we run.”
“The majority of the starters this year have at least two years of collegiate experience, and it’s nice to see them on the court showing a lot of confidence and game knowledge,” said junior captain Meagan Tatum. “It makes our team really explosive at times.”
The younger players have integrated themselves seamlessly and are making immediate contributions to the team.
In the first week of October, freshman Rachel D’Epagnier took home Freshman of the Week honors.
“The freshmen have been working very hard and are competitive,” Bernson said. “Usually we see growth in the spring, but they are grasping a hold of the technical parts of training now.”
Because of the contributions coming from the whole lineup, the team has great depth at every position.
“We have depth in most of the different positions,” said junior setter Jordan Reeder. “We have been focusing on developing the individual skills of each player so that everyone can contribute.”
One of the things that the young team might need to work on is maintaining its intensity level throughout all five sets. Particularly in the last couple games, the Red has fallen into a habit of starting strong by winning a set or two, but then dropping three sets later on.
These bad habits will undoubtedly prove costly in the stronger Ivy League this year.
“We’ve learned how to start matches with high intensity and energy,” Bernson said. “We just need to focus on maintaining it and adjusting to the opponents.”
“Last weekend we started strong but we had a harder time dealing with the changes in the other team’s lineup,” Tatum said. “Now we have the mentality of finishing the game. … If we can get it in our heads to go all out in three games, I don’t think we’ll have a problem.”
Despite its record, the team has played very well the past few games and will look to maintain its high level of play far into the season.
“When we play our best, we are an unstoppable team,” Reeder said.
Original Author: Wankyu Lee