Coming off of three consecutive Ivy League losses, the women’s volleyball team was able to get back into the win column with a five-set victory over conference and in-state rival Columbia.
The Red, currently in third place in the Ivy League, marked the first season sweep of Columbia since 2013 with the win this weekend.
The Red got off to a hot start in the match, winning the first two sets, 25-18 and 25-13, but then were unable to continue its dominance, allowing the Lions to claw back into the game.
Ultimately, the Red was able to take the crucial league match by winning the fifth set 15-6. In the final set, the Red played a nearly flawless stretch, committing no errors, along with eight kills and a .348 hitting percentage. The Lions struggled throughout the match, unable to overcome 28 errors and a mere hitting percentage of .157.
The team learned from the three consecutive losses before Columbia’s game by watching recaps and modifying their training.
“After losing those three games that we felt we should have won, we sat down and watched film and saw what types of errors we were making and what we could be doing better,” junior Lily Barber said. “During practice this week, we started from square one and coach Vande Berg gave everyone a chance to prove they could get the job done. So, by the end of the week, if you were going to play was based on your numbers and statistics from the week of practice.”
Cornell was led by junior outside hitter Samanta Arenas who had 20 kills and sophomore setter Zoe Chamness who recorded 50 assists in the contest. Additionally, freshman Avery Hanan and junior Jada Stackhouse accumulated 11 and 10 kills respectively, while Barber led the Red with 16 digs on the afternoon.
“Personally, I went into the game wanting to have a different attitude and spark that I haven’t shown previously,” Chamness said. “Every person on our team is incredibly skilled and we have the ability to win big games and reach our goals, but it starts with our mentality. We are working hard on a ‘no ball hits the ground’ mindset and making the choice to go out there and win.”
Heading into its final six games of the season, the Red are just two games out of first place in the Ivy League, behind Yale and Princeton, who are both 7-1 on the year.
“Our plan is to win the rest of our games this season,” Stackhouse said. “We have the talent to beat every single team in the conference, so we really just have to focus and use our strengths strategically. We still have a chance to win the Ivy League, so that’s where our focus is right now.”
Cornell will look to continue its Ivy League winning streak on the road next weekend against Dartmouth on Friday at 5 p.m. and Harvard on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Red defeated both opponents earlier in the season in convincing fashion in Ithaca.