The Red completed a 1-3 weekend in New York City after a tight 5-set loss to the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Cornell (1-6) traveled to Fordham on Friday, but lost to its host team in five sets. The Red then earned its first victory of the season over Bucknell, before losing to Stony Brook early Saturday morning.
First-year head coach Melissa Batie-Smoose earned her first Cornell victory when the team came back to beat the Bison after dropping the first two sets, 20-25 and 19-25, respectively. Freshman Breanna Wong proved very valuable in the match with 11 kills, including an important shot late in the close third set. The Red won the third, 25-21, and cruised through the fourth, 25-12, behind junior captain Kelly Marble’s three kills. The Red finally won the back-and-forth fifth set 17-15 when the Bison failed to execute on a set on the Red’s third match point.
The Red also competed in two other five-set matches this weekend, but fell short in both. Against the host team Fordham, the Red was down two sets to none, but came back to force a fifth. Sophomore and setter captain Kelly Reinke had 36 assists and notched 13 digs in the close match.
On Saturday afternoon against NJIT, the Red took the first and fourth sets while dropping the second and third to the Highlanders. Reinke posted a career-high 53 assists, as well as 14 digs and five block assists, while senior Ana Vanjak scored nine kills and one error on 18 attempts to lead the team with a .444 hitting percentage. Despite the performances from the Red veterans, the team dropped the fifth set 15-13.
“I think we are really learning a lot as a team and we are going to go into this week focusing on finishing out those close games,” Reinke said.
The Red will compete in its final tournament next weekend at Temple against Central Connecticut State. The Red will begin Ivy League play Sept. 22 at Columbia.
Original Author: Scott Eckl