Adrian Boteanu/ Sun File Photo

The volleyball season gets underway Friday.

August 29, 2017

Women’s Volleyball Opens Season Friday with Sights Set on First Winning Year Since ’06

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The Cornell’s Women’s Volleyball team left off its 2016 season with a 12-12 record and a fifth place 6-8 Ivy League record, its best Ivy record since 2008. The group is working on staying focused this season, with the goal of winning at the forefront.

The Red upped its game since the 2015 season, when its record was just 6-18. It found its rhythm last season, and the players are determined to keep the momentum rolling as the 2017 season begins. Cornell has not finished with a winning record since 2006.

Hoping to start off the season as well as the team ended the last, head coach Trudy Vande Berg is excited to see how the Red plays against a trio of tough teams this weekend.

“I hope that we continue with where we left off,” she said. “We ended the season playing great volleyball last year and the team worked incredibly hard over the spring/summer so I’m excited to see us in action this weekend against some very good teams.”

Although the team lost a couple of key starters and a handful of other contributors, there is a lot of excitement surrounding the four newcomers. Freshmen Paige Becker, Zoe Chamness, Lauren Stubbs and Alena Madar joined the team this season and are looking to fill the gaps that the graduating seniors left. Their attitudes on and off the court have already contributed to the overall positive atmosphere surrounding the team.

“[The newcomers] are doing great,” Vande Berg said. “They all came from an elite playing background so they have come a long way in a very short amount of time. I couldn’t be happier with their performance on and off the court.”

As many of the staff members are experienced volleyball players, they brought their knowledge and experience of the game to the team in hopes of inspiring them and sparking motivation to prosper this season. The main focus is to get onto the court and start the season in the win column.

“The team is really excited to start playing together,” said senior Kiley McPeek. “We see how much potential we have for the season and can’t wait to see it all come together.”

The team consists of several fresh faces with a lot of talent, perhaps more than ever before. The four new recruits are highly experienced. Stubbs was her high school’s all time kill leader with 1,099 kills. Becker has been attending Cornell’s camp since she was a freshman in high school. Although the team losing a valuable setter in Alyssa Phelps, Chamness will help fill the void. Madar has proven herself to Vande Berg, referred to as one of the hardest workers on the court.

Vande Berg is focused on preparing her team for the hard times that they will inevitably encounter. The team is looking to its experienced players to help the team maintain its focus throughout the season, regardless of what happens on the court.

“Making sure that we stay focused on the process, not the result,” Vande Berg said. “This team really wants to have a great season, but we all know that there will be ups and downs. It’s how you learn from the highs and lows that will make the difference in November.”

The Red will open up its season on the road at James Madison on Friday at 7 p.m. followed by a doubleheader on Saturday against Drake and Hampton.