November 1, 2010

Volleyball Team Drops Two Ivy League Games in Five Sets

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The volleyball (4-16, 2-8 Ivy) battled both Harvard and Dartmouth to five sets over the weekend, but ended up dropping both games. Cornell played both games at Newman Arena with Harvard visiting on Friday night and Dartmouth arriving on Saturday night. The Red hung close with each opponent, but the victory slipped away both times in heartbreaking fashion.

The Harvard game featured contributions from the whole lineup. Junior Kelly Hansen, senior captain Erin McCarthy and junior Madeleine Przybyl each had double-digit figures in kills. McCarthy contributed double-digit figures in digs as well, while junior Jordan Reeder and sophomore libero Taylor Nieman also added 18 digs each.

The first and second sets of the Harvard game were split between the Crimson and the Red, respectively as each team was able to pull away with a comfortable lead. The third set started out close as the teams traded leads often, until Harvard took control with a five-point run and proceeded to win the set. Cornell came back in the fourth set as the team turned a two-point deficit into a three-point advantage. The Red maintained the lead until Harvard tied the game again at 18-18. However, a Harvard service error and a service ace from Reeder gave Cornell the lead for good to set up the fifth set.

The Crimson rolled out to a four-point lead and eventually ran the score to 10-5. Cornell fought back with two points but Harvard quickly answered with three points of its own to make it 13-7. A kill from McCarthy seemed to return the momentum to the Red to open a four-point run but the Crimson gathered itself up again. The visitors also benefited from a call that was initially against them with a ball going out but was later overturned as having been touched last by Cornell. Harvard didn’t look back as it closed out a 15-11 victory. The pivotal overturning of the call may have affected the team, but the Red stayed poised despite giving up the last two points.

“We tried not to let the calls affect our team and we just played our own game,” McCarthy said.

“It’s just part of volleyball and we have to deal with those situations,” Reeder said. “You just have to play with those things.”

The Red again let the game slip away as the team has consistently been able to stay close with all of its opponents this year, but has not been able to close out matches.

“On Friday, we followed the trend of our season so far,” McCarthy said.

The team was also more passive against Harvard and was not able to execute down the stretch.

“We let our opponents set the pace of the match and we reacted to them instead of playing our own game,” McCarthy said. “It was an up and down match. They got a string of points that determined the outcome of the match.”

On Saturday against Dartmouth, Cornell’s play was more improved. The Red took the first set and the second set was a long struggle as the teams traded leads throughout. Cornell went up to 23-20 near the end, but was unable to secure the last two points as Dartmouth finished the set with a 5-0 run. Cornell bounced back with a dominating third set, but Dartmouth answered in the fourth set with another close match. With the score tied at 24-24, an error and a service ace gave the Green the fourth set. The fifth set again was very close as Cornell led, 9-7, but gave the lead to Dartmouth when the Green went on a 6-2 run. Cornell then tied the score at 13-13 and the score remained close until 16-16, when a kill and an error ended the match and gave the game to Dartmouth. Often, at the most important times, the Red made errors to give the opponents points and the game.

“Unfortunately, when it comes down to it, we gave the opponents the opportunity to capitalize on with our mistakes,” Reeder said. “We need to execute our game and not give them any chances.”

The players are encouraged by the fact that they are competing in each match, but must be able to fix some small things to add to their win total.

“We’re in all of these games,” Reeder said. “In practice, every point counts and it could win us or lose us the game.”

“If we keep playing this way, we’ll be able to battle with anyone in the league,” McCarthy said. “We need to focus on finding our game and being consistent.”

Original Author: Wankyu Lee