Jason Ben Nathan | Sun Senior Photographer

The Red is looking to step up and rebound from a disappointing 2015 campaign.

August 31, 2016

Following Last Place Season, Volleyball “Excited” for Upcoming Year

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With the 2015 season squarely in the past, Cornell’s volleyball team has high hopes for improvement moving forward, according to senior middle hitter Macey Wilson.

“I’m really excited for this new season,” Wilson said. “We have a lot of great incoming players and we are returning all of our starters.”

Last season did not pan out well for the Red, finishing in last place among the Ivy League with a 6-18 overall record, including 2-12 in the Ancient Eight. Cornell only managed to defeat Columbia and Brown, teams that finished in sixth and seventh place, respectively.

The Red has the chance to open up its regular season with two wins this weekend, just like the team did last year against William & Mary and Iona. Cornell will also face in-state rival Colgate on Friday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m, followed by James Madison and Marist at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m the following day.

The women had plenty of time during the spring to become a stronger, more efficient team, according to head coach Trudy Vande Burg, who now has a full season under her belt. Vande Burg said working with a team that has all active players back for more action could result in a more successful fall.

“The first couple matches of every season are my favorite,” Vande Burg said. “It’s when we start to define what we are going to be about and send a message. We have a very experienced team this year so it’s a little different than it has been in the past, I’m excited to see how far we have come during our offseason.”

Colgate has won seven of the past eight games between the programs and will not look to let Cornell get the upper hand. The last time the team’s played, Colgate earned a 3-1 victory, winning three straight sets after dropping the first.

Yet despite the recent history, the Red holds a dominating 54-29-1 all-time record against the Raiders, so this next meeting between the two will likely be a dog fight.

“I think we have a great opportunity to do really well this season,” Wilson said. “I think our blocking and defense have developed really well over the past season and spring so I’m looking forward to seeing that translate into points during games.”

Cornell will have a great opportunity to test its newfound skills with the team’s exhibitions against James Madison and Marist on Saturday. The Red has only played both teams once in the program’s history but managed to secure wins both times.

“We will just continue to figure ourselves out and play hard,” Vande Burg said. “Both are good teams, so they will prepare us well for our Ivy League opponents.

All in all, the Red will key in to bouncing back from its previous lackluster season. Last year, many matches ultimately came down to the wire, but Cornell always received the short end of the stick.

Putting all disappointments behind will be essential in gaining some redemption this season, according to Wilson.

“I personally would really like to finish my last season on a high point,” Wilson said. “I would like to better all my stats and really be able to show leadership on the court. I think I can really help the team by blocking well and being a constant offensive threat to the other team.”

Vande Burg praised the effort of the seniors, and said she looks forward to seeing them on the court this season.

“Our seniors have worked so hard in the offseason and are healthy and ready to go this year,” Vande Burg said. “I’m excited to see what they can lead us to do.”

The women will look to gear up this regular season and hit their stride by the time Ivy League play begins on Sept. 24 against Columbia at Levien Gym.