Cornell volleyball won its sixth straight as it downed Columbia in its first Ivy game of the season, sweeping the Lions, 3-0.
The Red was on fire, winning consecutive sets 25-21, 25-16 and 25-19 at Newman Arena last Saturday.
Cornell had 18 kills in the first set and 17 in the two following sets, which were due to huge contributions by sophomore outside Avery Hanan and freshman outside hitter Joanna Chang, who added 13 and 12 hits, respectively.
“Even if the pass wasn’t there, my focus was to give us the best chance of putting them out of system or giving us the best chance to score that point even if it’s not pretty,” Hanan said.
All of Cornell’s hitters did just that, leading them to a swift and dominant win against the Lions.
The Red’s record is now at 8-2 overall, with a current six-game winning streak.
“The first Ivy League match is always a little nerve-wracking because you’re just figuring your team out and Columbia had an incredible preseason as well,” head coach Trudy Vande Berg said. “You add in the prelims this week and next week … we came out a little sloppy in that first set, and again this team decided they didn’t want it that way. They really took control of the match … it was easy to coach.”
The Red knew going into the matches that Columbia’s star player senior Chichi Ikwuazom would be the Lion’s biggest asset. She ended the game with an impressive 15 kills.
But Cornell’s strategy was to specifically limit the number of points Columbia’s other players were making, and this is how they succeeded. After Ikwuazom, Columbia’s next leading scorers only had three hits apiece.
“We had a gameplan going in and I think we executed it really well,” said Hanan.
The team is traveling to Penn and Princeton this weekend to fight to continue its winning streak.
“Princeton being the preseason favorite, they have a lot more weapons that we have to worry about,” Vande Berg said. “We talked a lot about our defensive scrappiness, getting balls off the floor.”
But Cornell volleyball is hot right now and it aimed to send a message to the rest of the Ivy League with that first Ivy takedown.
The Red will play Penn on Friday at 7 p.m. and Princeton Saturday at 5 p.m.