November 2, 2011

VOLLEYBALL | Cornell Splits Weekend, Awaits Senior Night

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With only four games left in the season, Cornell is determined to make them all count. Last weekend, the Red came away with a win on Friday against Brown, 3-1, but the team was taken down by conference-leading Yale on Saturday, 3-0. The squad hosts Dartmouth (13-8, 5-5 Ivy) tomorrow at 7 p.m., and the seniors will say goodbye to Newman Arena against Harvard (11-9, 4-6, Ivy) on Saturday at 5 p.m.The Red (4-18, 2-8 Ivy) started out last weekend strong, putting up a tough offensive front against the Bears (6-15, 2-8 Ivy). Cornell won the first two sets and lost the third set, but regained focus and defeated Brown in the fourth to end the match. Head coach Sarah Bernson said the team stuck to its game plan more than it did in its first game against Brown this season.“We showed some resiliency against Brown,” she said. “We came out after the break not as focused in the third set. We were down in the fourth set, and a benchmark for the team was [that the players] looked at each other and you could see there was a determination, and we came back and won that set.”The Red was able to defeat Brown despite falling to the Bears in five sets on Oct. 1.“The team just came together and no matter what Brown did to change [its] offense, we were well prepared for it. We were in control of the flow of the game,” said senior setter Jordan Reeder, who had 13 assists and 23 digs in the match.Saturday’s game proved more difficult for Cornell. The Red struggled offensively against Yale (15-5, 9-1, Ivy) and lost to the Bulldogs for the second time this season. According to Reeder, the match came down to which team could control the flow of the game.“With Yale, they took advantage of some flaws in our game and dictated the pace. We did not execute our game plan as effectively as they did.”“Defensively, we were focused where we needed to be, but offensively we weren’t as engaged,” Bernson added.However, the Red does not believe its loss defines the quality of the team.“If given another chance, we could have defeated Yale, but that’s the way this league is,” said sophomore middle blocker Rachel D’Epagnier, who had seven kills and two solo blocks against Yale.Looking forward, the squad is excited to play its final two home games of the season this weekend.“We have the opportunity to finish the season with four wins, so that’s what we’re working towards,” Bernson said.The Green defeated Cornell in the rivalry’s first face-off this season, 3-0, but the Red is looking forward to playing at home court.“We have to control and dictate how the game will go and everyone has to be on the same page,” Reeder said.“We have a better understanding of how important playing the game plan is and we continue to focus on strengths and weaknesses of opponents and what we need to do,” Bernson said, when asked about what the team is working on at practice. She also mentioned that Harvard might come out looking for vengeance after the Red defeated the Crimson, 3-1, in Cambridge, Mass. on Oct. 14.“We were able to play affect how Harvard played last time, and we can’t expect the same team and the same play this time around,” Bernson said.“[Harvard is] going to want to redeem themselves,” E’pagnier agreed.In addition to the match on the court, the contest against Harvard comes on senior night. The class of 2011 hopes to say farewell to Newman Arena with a win, and its teammates are determined to contribute to the goal.“We love our seniors and we want to send them off on a high note,” E’pagnier said.“[The seniors] have done a great job building relationships with the team,” Bernson said. “It’s about the younger players working and performing to send the seniors off well.”

Original Author: Andrea Sielicki