The volleyball team travelled to Richmond, Va. to compete in the VCU Invitational where the Red faced competition ranging from historical volleyball powerhouse George Washington to North Carolina A&T State, a program that is still searching for its first win in intercollegiate play. The Red (2-5) played both games on Saturday and experienced very different outcomes, losing to GW in straight sets and then dominating A&T State, allowing just 28 points total over the course of three matches.
In the first game of the day the Red faced an undefeated George Washington squad that was led by Lauren White and MacKenzie Knox, who racked up a combined 27 kills. Cornell could not get anything going in the game, despite eight kills and no errors on 25 attempts for an impressive .320 hitting percentage by sophomore outside hitter Janel Forte. In total, the Red hit a disappointing .156 for the entire match. The Colonials were overpowering, taking the game in straight sets, 25-16, 25-16, 25-13.
Despite the loss, senior setter Jordan Reeder decided to focus on the positives of the match.
“[It was] great that everyone on the team, from freshmen to seniors, got some high quality playing time against a legitimate and nationally known program,” she said.
Reeder noted that the entire team is “improving in intensity and skill,” and that the program is showing “tremendous upside.”
A few hours after the Red was defeated by an experienced and talented GW squad, the squad returned to the court to face North Carolina A&T State, where Cornell earned a sweep in dominating fashion. The Red hit an impressive .422 for the match and held the Aggies to an abysmal .026 overall. Leading the charge was junior middle blocker Ana Vanjak with an impressive 10 kills and a .444 hitting performance, while sophomore middle blocker Ainsley Lovejoy added seven kills with no errors on 17 attempts.
In addition, Reeder freshman Kelly Reinke teamed up and shared the setting duties with 15 and 14 assists, respectively, while freshman defender Natasha Rowland led the team with 11 digs. Reeder also added three service aces, as the Red rolled to victory in the last game of the tournament.
It was an impressive and well deserved win, according to junior middle blocker Alice Cope, who felt that it was great for the team to “operate in their system and play their game.”
Cornell resumes regular season play this weekend with a trip to Buffalo for the Blue and White Classic. The Red opens play against Dayton at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, and faces the host Bulls at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The tournament concludes with a matchup against Big East stalwart Syracuse at 5 p.m.
Original Author: Nicholas Rielly