Boris Tsang / Sun File Photo

Despite solid blocking, volleyball fell to Columbia in four sets.

September 28, 2021

Cornell Volleyball Opens Ivy League Play With Loss to Columbia

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Women’s volleyball went to New York City Saturday to compete against Columbia in their first Ivy League game of the season. Cornell (4-5, 0-1) won the third set but could not make a complete comeback, falling to the Lions, 3-1. 

Columbia (4-6, 1-0 Ivy League) won the first two sets before Cornell managed to eke out a third set victory. Columbia recovered in the fourth set to win the match (17-25, 19-25, 30-28, 22-25). 

In the first and second sets, Columbia gained quick control over the game. It was an intense back and forth in the first, with senior Madison Baptiste and freshman Brooke Cooper keeping their front strong with a few kills. However, the Lions came back with eight straight points and won the set, 17-25. 

Cornell tried to stay in the game during the second set, with more kills from Cooper and senior Jillienne Bennett. The team started strong by securing four straight points to take a 5-2 lead. However, Columbia answered by scoring five consecutive points to grab a 10-5 lead. The Red tried to readjust by calling a timeout, but it was unable to regroup and lost the set 19-25.  

The Red came back in the third set with the help of key blocks. Kills by senior Avery Hanan and Baptiste allowed the Red to take advantage of a 12-7 lead. Columbia could not keep up and the Red persevered with a 30-28 win. 

Columbia took an early fourth set lead, and the Red again relied on blocks and kills to close the gap. As Cornell got closer to taking over, the Lions pushed ahead to win set four 25-22.

Although the Red fell short in the match, its blocking and kills kept it in the fight. Sydney Moore led the team with a new record of six blocks, while Bennett, Baptiste, Hanan and Casey Justus also contributed. 

“I think we can get better at recognizing teams’ patterns and making those adjustments more quickly in the game to challenge other teams to score points on us in different ways rather than scoring on the same things,” said senior Jillianne Bennett. 

The Red was unable to stay consistent in the match, and in turn, had difficulties with the defense. 

“We did not put balls away that we should have, we let balls drop, and didn’t stick to our game plan and as a result came up short,” Bennet said. “We are regrouping this week, going back to the drawing board and preparing for two tough matches this weekend.” 

The Red has two more challenging games coming up. First, they will play against Brown (8-3, 1-0) in Providence, Rhode Island. 

“I think the team got a taste of what the competition is like in the Ivy League, and now that everyone has a sense of what to expect, we will just continue to improve from here on out,” said senior Avery Hanan. 

Following the match against Brown on Friday, The Red will play Yale (7-3, 0-1) in New Haven, Connecticut, on Saturday.