Cornell volleyball travelled to Columbia this past Saturday to take on the Lions in what turned into a five-set thriller. Cornell took a commanding two set lead to start off the match, but ended up falling in the end, 3-2 (25-14, 25-22, 25-27, 21-25, 9-15).
Both sides were extremely evenly matched, with almost identical statistics for kills, points, and assists. In the end, however, Cornell wasn’t able to hold on for the win, as Columbia clawed their way back to a gritty win to open the Ivy season.
The Red came out guns blazing and dominated the first set 25-14 while hitting .500. Cornell lead the Lions 22-8 at one point in the game, as it seemed the first set was going exactly as planned.
Fast forward to the second set and things got closer. Tied at 18, Columbia extended it to a 22-18 lead, before Cornell was able to go on a seven-point push to close out the set, 25-22.
It was in the third set that things started to slip away. It was another tightly contested set that culminated in a match point opportunity for Cornell at 24-22. The Lions, however, were able to hang on and ended up taking the set, 27-25, in what would prove to be a colossal shift in momentum.
“It took the wind out of our sails to say the least,” said head coach Trudy VandeBerg. “We started down 4-11 and fought our way back and couldn’t put away that set for the match. They made a couple of plays, and we didn’t keep our composure.”
After missing out on a match point opportunity, Cornell came out in the fourth set strong, but could not withstand the Lions. That left the match tied at two games.
Columbia was able to take control early in the fifth set and held on to close off the match.
Ivy League games are intense and VandeBerg knows the team’s readiness for these games will improve as the season goes on.
“We have done very well in previous matches under pressure,” she said. “In the Ivy League, every team can beat the other [so] we have to be ready for anything.”
The Red (5-5, 0-1 Ivy) take on Brown (2-9, 0-1 Ivy) at home this Friday and Yale (8-2, 1-0 Ivy) the day after.