September 18, 2011

VOLLEYBALL | Top Squads Force Winless Weekend

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The volleyball team travelled to Buffalo, N.Y., to play in the annual Blue and White Classic over the weekend; however the Red came out of the tournament without a single win. Facing competition ranging from national powerhouse Dayton to regional stalwarts Syracuse and Buffalo, Cornell never seemed to catch a break. Although some games were extremely close, it is never easy to accept a loss.

“We felt like we were competitive in every game,” said freshman Kelly Reinke, expressing her frustration with the outcome. “But, in the end, it stinks to lose.”

The Red started the weekend off against the Dayton Flyers, a squad ranked nationally in the first two weeks of the season. Although they had lost five straight going into the tournament, Dayton’s record was not indicative of the level of talent that the team possesses. The Flyers came into the game looking to make a statement against Cornell and did just that, winning the game in straight sets.

One of the few bright spots of the match came from senior setter Jordan Reeder, who handed out 22 assists. Reeder, who was also named to the all-tournament team, did not seem overly downtrodden regarding the loss.

“It was great to get exposure against some top level teams like Dayton” she explained. “This will only help us later in the season when we get into Ivy play.”

On Saturday, the Red seemed to forget about its loss against Dayton and came out with a renewed sense of energy and competitive spirit to force a strong Buffalo team to bring its best effort in every single set. Although the Bulls got the best of Cornell in a hard-fought, four-set match, the Red seemed to be pleased afterwards.

“We felt like we were very competitive in every set in which we played,” Reeder said. “We played with the same competitive edge that we had been exhibiting in practice and it showed.” Sophomore outside hitter Kelly Marble led the charge with 12 kills, while senior middle blocker Madeleine Przybyl finished just one kill shy of a double-double with nine kills and 10 digs.

The final game of the tournament came against the Syracuse Orange, who earlier that day had sent in its application to become the newest member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Although the Red jumped out with a victory in its first set, 25-23, the Orange stormed back and took the next three sets to win the game. Reeder had another solid outing, posting an impressive 39 assists, and also contributing to double-digit kills by senior Meagan Tatum and sophomores Rachel D’Epagnier and Janel Forte.

Although the Red came out of the tournament with three losses, Reinke still seemed positive about the rest of the season.

“It was great to go against a high level of competition,” she said. “I feel that if we continue to play with the intensity that we brought this weekend, we can only get better.”

Cornell hopes to bring the same amount of energy to Newman Arena this weekend, a place the team has not played at in 20 days. The Red begins the weekend against Binghamton on Friday at 7 p.m. and then opens Ivy play against Columbia on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Original Author: Nicholas Rielly