On Saturday, Cornell volleyball traveled to New York to play against Columbia to kick off the second half of Ivy League play.
Following a loss to Yale — which snapped Cornell’s 11-game winning streak — the Red looked to get back on track as it faced the same Lion team that it defeated in straight sets a month prior.
The result was no different this time around. Cornell swiftly defeated Columbia, handling the Lions in only three sets (25-17, 25-15, 25-22).
Cornell’s strategy coming into the game centered on defending Columbia’s star middle blocker Chichi Ikwuazom.
Although Ikwuazom still managed 14 kills, the next highest Lions scorer was only able to notch five kills. While Ikwuazom certainly made her presence known, Cornell did a great job in limiting the rest of Columbia’s attack.
But even after such a decisive victory, the Red is still preparing for the big weeks ahead. Junior setter Zoe Chamness — who earned a team-high 25 assists — reflected on the team’s mood following the victory.
“I think we definitely felt good about it, but at this point, we’re taking everything one week at a time,” Chamness said. “This week … we have new things to accomplish.”
Also integral in the victory was freshman outside hitter Joanna Chang, who recorded a double-double with 11 kills and 12 digs. As a team, Cornell collected 17 more kills than Columbia while also holding the Lions to a .000 hitting percentage in the first two frames.
“We are fortunate to have a lot of good hitters,” Chamness said. “In my position, I’m trying to use that against the other team and get all of our hitters involved.”
The win helped Cornell maintain a three-way tie atop the Ancient Eight as the Red — along with Princeton and Yale — has tallied seven Ivy victories with the backend of the schedule starting up.
Next weekend, the Red will have its hands full as it hosts both Princeton — a top Ivy foe — as well as Penn, a team that battled for five sets against Cornell.
Each Ivy school possesses different playing styles as well as strengths, which forces the Red to make necessary adjustments.
“[For] Columbia, we focused specifically on their middle,” Chamness said. “Princeton and Penn are very well rounded teams … Penn has strong outsides, and Princeton is strong all around.”
A pair of victories next weekend are integral for Cornell to gain an edge against the Tigers while also keeping pace with the Bulldogs.
Cornell will look to bolster its conference standing as it hosts Princeton and Penn next weekend at Newman Arena.