By BEN HOROWITZ
After winning two of its first three Ivy League games, the Cornell women’s volleyball team had a setback this past weekend, falling in matches with Harvard (8-6, 3-2 Ivy League) and Dartmouth (8-9, 1-4 Ivy League).
Against Harvard, Cornell (5-9, 2-3 Ivy League) dropped the first two sets and won the third, but the Crimson took the fourth set for the win, (18-25, 23-25, 25-23, 16-25). Cornell jumped out to a two set lead against the Big Green, but Dartmouth stormed back for the five-set win, 25-22, 25-21, 19-25, 23-25, 13-15.
According to sophomore right side Breanna Wong, the Red was sluggish at the start of the game and failed to gain momentum early enough to win the match.
“We just started off really slow, and it took longer than it should have for us to pick up our game for the rest of the match,” she said.
According to senior outside hitter Kelly Marble, Red struggled to finish sets strongly and secure set wins.
“I think throughout this match we struggled to be consistent and take care of our business, which affected our ability to close out all the sets we dropped,” she said.
The Red improved its play in the second set against Harvard, but could not secure the win. According to Wong, Harvard’s grit made it very difficult for Cornell to come back after falling behind.
“We definitely improved and started playing a lot better in the second set, but they’re a really scrappy team so it’s hard to come back after falling behind and just all of a sudden decide that we’re going to play and be able to be successful,” Wong said.
The Red had a much better start in the match with the Green, winning the first two sets. However, Dartmouth captured the momentum and rode it all the way to a five set win. According to Marble, Cornell lost some of the intensity that it had in the first two sets, and it failed to adequately adjust to Dartmouth’s attack.
“I don’t think we came out with the same intensity after the second set,” she said. “We needed to take care of the easy plays and also step up our passing game after Dartmouth came out and started serving more aggressively.”
According to Wong, the Dartmouth attack threw the Red off its game and turned the tide.
“Dartmouth started playing better than they had been previously, then we made a couple of mistakes,” Wong said. “It started getting hectic, and it took us a while to calm ourselves down and to be able to play composed again.”
According to Wong, the Red will look to improve its passing and defensive play in its upcoming games.
“We’re definitely working on passing and on pursuing balls on defense,” she said.
With the two losses, Cornell fell into a three-way tie for fourth place in the Ivy League. After its final non-conference game against Binghamton, the Red will continue its Ivy League schedule with two home contests against Yale and Brown this coming weekend. According to Wong, the Red is confident that it has the potential to play winning volleyball on a more consistent basis.
“There have been times this season when we’ve played very well, and in the first two sets against Dartmouth, we looked like a very confident and composed team,” she said. “I know that as much as it stinks that we lost and didn’t play well consistently, we know we can play at that high level, and we’ll keep that in mind over the next few games.”
According to Marble, the key for the Red is to stay confident and use the past games as motivation to succeed in the upcoming ones.
“Staying confident is important and is exactly what we are going to do,” she said. “This past weekend will definitely fuel us to play better tomorrow and our upcoming matches this weekend.”