Riding a wave of momentum, the Cornell women’s volleyball team looks to secure its first 10-win season since 2008 when it faces Ivy League foes Yale and Brown this weekend. The team will be also be seeking their fourth conference win against teams that have already surpassed them before this season.
Following a 3-1 win over Columbia University last weekend, the Red looks strong going into the weekend.
“We are definitely looking to carry our momentum from the past two games into this weekend,” said senior middle hitter Macey Wilson. “Yale and Brown are always tough to play, but I think we have a lot of confidence that will allow us to continue to play at the high level we have been.”
Freshman middle blocker Jenna Phelps agreed with her teammate on the importance of last week’s victory.
“I think that last weekend’s win has given us the momentum and confidence that we’ve needed to be able to go out and play like we know we can,” Phelps said. “That win can propel us forward into the second half of the season with no doubt in our minds we can win the rest of our matches.”
The Red (9-9) is prepared for the different playing styles presented by its opponents. But Cornell is confident that its experience at this point in this season will propel the team forward.
“Yale should be a good match-up, they are a similar team to us and play a similar game, whereas Brown is less physical however they can scrappy,” Wilson said.
“[Yale and Brown] are such different teams, that makes it difficult to prepare for but our upperclassmen know what to expect and will help the younger kids be ready, “said Head Coach Trudy Vande Berg.
Phelps noted the benefit of having played the two teams already.
“Now that we have a round of matches under our belt, we are mentally stronger, we know what to expect from the both Brown and Yale and know how to beat them,” Phelps said.
The Bulldogs (13-4) and the Bears (4-14) are completely different teams. But these teams present familiar challenges to the Red and the team is prepared to reverse its last results against these teams.
“As with most Ivy League teams, both Yale and Brown dig a lot of balls,” Wilson said. “Nothing easily hits the floor on the other side and I think that has been difficult to get through in the past. But we saw Columbia do this as well and we were able to find more ways to score and I think that we are headed in the right direction.”
Vande Berg agreed that Cornell is a different team now.
“We are a tougher team now,” Vande Berg said. “That first weekend we broke down when we shouldn’t have and got careful. We have worked through that, we will be ready to go.”
But at the final leg of the season, the team believes it has hit its stride and is ready to hit the ground running this weekend, without any added pressure on their shoulders.
“For us, there is no added pressure, we know the teams and know what to expect,” Phelps said. “Our momentum and teamwork can carry us through, it allows us to just play and not worry about the little thing.”
Vande Berg believes the team is in top form at a key time in the season
“We are finding our groove,” Vande Berg said. “Every Ivy match is a battle and I think we are in a place physically and mentally that will keep us going until the end of season.”
Wilson is prepared to accept the challenges ahead as she looks to complete her Cornell career with great results.
“One thing I really enjoy with playing volleyball is the pressure of the competition,” Wilson said. “I really relish any added pressure with competition. There is a huge weight in knowing that my volleyball career at Cornell is almost over and that comes with a mixture of feelings. Wanting to go out with wins and beating every Ivy team, does add a little bit of pressure to that feeling that time is running out.”