October 2, 2011

VOLLEYBALL | Despite Strong Effort, Top Squads Force Winless Weekend

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It was another rough weekend for the volleyball team, as it dropped two consecutive games to Ivy foes Yale and Brown. Going on the road for the first time of the season against Ivy league opponents, the Red saw quality play from all players on the team; however, it could not manage to find the perfect formula to pull out a win. The losses to Yale and Brown extends Cornell’s streak to seven losses, as the team continues to meet difficulties while competing against high-caliber programs.

On Friday, the Red travelled to the Lee Amphitheater in New Haven, Conn., to face reigning Ivy champion Yale. The Bulldogs lived up to their title and dismantled the Red in a dominating fashion, winning the game in three straight sets (25-18, 25-15, 25-22).

The game remained competitive until halfway through the first set, when the Bulldogs went on a 9-3 run, taking the game to 18-10. That jump set the tone for the game — it was all Yale until the end after this point.

Though the box score may paint a different picture, there were a few positives that came from the game, including senior middle blocker Madeline Przybyl recording 10 kills and an outstanding .421 hitting percentage. However, as a team, Cornell finished with just seven blocks, thanks in large part to five block assists from sophomore middle blocker Rachael D’Epagnier. Freshman setter Kelly Reinke called the loss against Yale “disappointing.”

“We just did not come to play on Friday,” she said. “Yale, who is a really good team, made us pay. We did play with solid intensity, but we need to be able to play better against teams like Yale.”

In the Brown game, Cornell fared much better, as the Red walked into the Pizzitola Center looking to redeem itself. In its closest match to date, the Bears barely edged past Cornell with the victory after earning wins in the first, third, and fifth sets.

Channeling her momentum from Friday into Saturday’s game, Przybyl gave another solid performance, recording 18 kills and a .316 hitting percentage. However, the effort was not enough to secure the victory, and Brown, who had a pair of hitters reach double-digit kills, pulled away with the victory in a hotly contested final set.

Junior middle blocker Alice Cope, who had a solid outing with nine kills and just two errors on 22 attempts for a .218 hitting percentage, maintained a positive attitude after the loss.

“We fought hard against Brown and played as a cohesive team,” she said. “They just managed to get the better of us at the last second.”

Although the season has not gone as well as the team had hoped, many of the players seemed optimistic about the games ahead. Reinke said she feels that the team has “played well” thus far.

“If we just continue to compete, the wins will come for us,” she said.

“If the team continues to play with the same level of intensity and energy that we have been bringing to all of our games, good things will happen,” Cope said.

The Red returns home next weekend to face Penn at 7 p.m. Friday night and Princeton at 5 p.m. Saturday night at Newman Arena.

Original Author: Nicholas Rielly