Boris Tsang / Sun File Photo

After losing to Princeton on Friday, the Red would go on to defeat the University of Pennsylvania the next day.

October 13, 2021

Cornell Volleyball Has Split Weekend in Ivy League Against Princeton and Penn

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Cornell’s Volleyball team had a split weekend after facing off against Princeton University on Friday night and the University of Pennsylvania Saturday evening. Finally getting their first win against an Ivy League team, the results stand at 0-3 and 3-0, respectively. 

The Red (5-8, 1-4) tried to stay in the game against Princeton (10-2, 4-0), with each set being relatively close. However, they came up short, and Princeton out-hit them with a .258 percent to Cornell’s .202 percent. Despite an overall team-high and career-best of 15 kills and 24 attempts by senior Casey Justus, they lost the first set, 21-25. 

“I think our first ball side out is something we are focusing on in practice as well as being more aggressive on the block and moving the outsides around on offense,” said senior Jillienne Bennett.

The second set was tight, but Princeton was able to keep a strong front throughout. Cornell started the third set strong with a lead but Princeton was able to catch up. Cornell tried to stay in it as the set continued, but Princeton, in the end, was able to solidify the win. This resulted in Cornell losing three straight sets, 21-25, 20-25 and 32-34, respectively. 

Senior Madison Baptiste also had a strong game, with 12 kills from the match. Baptiste and Justus made up 27 of the 43 kills from Cornell. Freshmen Jackie Backer and Megan Bickel contributed to the Red’s team-high 13 digs while playing in the back row. 

On Saturday, the Red scored its first Ivy League win against Penn (5-9, 2-3). Cornell had a strong game right off the bat that made Penn unable to compete with the Red’s collaboration.

“What changed with our team… was how we were able to play together and less as individuals, collectively stick to our game plan, fire from all sides on the net, and defend our home court with pride,” Bennett said.  

This was a big win for the Red (25-14, 25-22, and 25-19). They dominated in every aspect of the game, in terms of kills (52-36), hitting percentage (.443 percent-.289 percent), points (63-43), assists (51-35) and aces (10-4). The game was also the team’s best hitting percentage all season in the Ivy League.

“I think that we as a team really came out fast and strong against Penn. We were the aggressors during the match the whole time which was able to keep Penn off their game,” said senior Casey Justus. 

Many players had an outstanding performance, one of them including Justus, with 14 kills and a .550 hitting percentage. Senior Jillienne Bennett had 13 kills, 18 attempts, a .667 hitting percentage and helped in defense with seven digs and one block. 

“We have been working on our trust on the court and it showed in Penn’s match where our defense was reliable and strong throughout the entire match,” Bennett said.  

Baptiste and freshman Camryn Carlo also had themselves a night, with each player recording ten kills. Justus, Bennett, Baptiste and Carlo together contributed 47 of the Red’s 52 total kills.  

Cornell will be looking for its second win this weekend when they travel to Harvard on Friday, October 15th at 7 pm. Then they face off against Dartmouth on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 5 p.m.