November 12, 2012

VOLLEYBALL | Cornell Ends Season with Weekend Sweep

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ˇhe women’s volleyball team ended its season in grand style Saturday afternoon with a win over Penn, completing an Ivy League sweep on the weekend. The Red’s (9-16, 5-9 Ivy) four set win over the Quakers (13-12, 8-6 Ivy) combined with their four set win over second place Princeton (12-11, 9-4 Ivy) sealed the team’s first Ivy League weekend sweep since 2008 knocking off Harvard and Dartmouth.   Going into Friday night’s matchup, the Tigers have won 11 consecutive games over the Red. Cornell came out firing, winning the first two sets 25-19 and 25-22. The Tigers fought back to win the third set 25-23, but Cornell dominated the fourth, winning 25-17. Sophomore setter and captain Kelly Reinke came three shy of her career high with 53 assists. Juniors outside hitter and captain Kelly Marble and outside hitter Sierra Young each had a double-double, while junior middle blocker Rachel D’Epagnier had a match high 17 kills.   Cornell’s final victory of the season ended the careers of middle blocker Ana Vanjak and setter Lucy Zheng. D’Epagnier continued to play well as she registered 13 kills and no errors on 22 attempts for a .591 hitting percentage. She also had six total blocks. Freshman outside hitter Breanna Wong ended her first year with 18 kills and a .405 hitting percentage.   Saturday afternoon’s match at Newman Arena was a little closer than Friday night’s, as the teams split the first two sets 25-15 (Cornell) and 25-20 (Penn). After the break, the Red came out firing winning the next two 25-23 and 25-19. In her final game, Zheng finished with 49 assists, six digs, two aces and two kills.   “I think we played today like we could have been playing the entire season,” Young said. “The seniors really wanted to go out with a bang, and I think we were able to do that for them.”   In her first season as head coach Melissa Batie-Smoose was able to finish the season with a respectable record as compared to last season. At 9-16, she improved the team’s record by four wins and at 5-9 in the Ivy League she added two additional wins from last year’s 3-11 performance. She was also able to change the culture of the program, which was one of her original stated goals prior to the season.    “We have had a culture change for the better,” Young said. “We have been working hard in the gym and outside all the time. ‘Swing hard’ she says, in order to get us in the aggressive mentality.”

Original Author: Scott Eckl