This past weekend, Cornell volleyball won two out of three matches, scoring 3-1. They dropped their first match against Oakland University on Friday, but bounced back to defeat Kent State University and University of Southern Indiana on Saturday.
In their loss to Oakland (3-3) on Friday, the Red (2-1) failed to gain momentum as they got swept in three sets (23-25, 17-25, 18-25). However, Saturday proved to be a different story.
“We came out a lot more relaxed today and it showed,” said Head Coach Trudy Vande Berg, following Saturday’s two wins.
The team swiftly defeated both Kent State (4-2) and Southern Indiana (0-6) in four sets.
“I thought we [played] really well, especially bouncing back from the loss the first day,” said senior Joanna Chang. “We came back and were ready to go.”
Veterans and newcomers alike propelled the team to Saturday’s victories. Seniors Emma Worthington and Chang had great performances, dominating on both the defensive and offensive ends. Worthington tallied 29 digs, four blocks and 106 assists in the three matches, while Chang notched 27 kills and 25 digs.
“We didn’t overthink things and made adjustments quickly,” Vande Berg said. “What I’m most proud of is that we had so many players come in at different times and the chemistry on the court wasn’t affected a bit. Everyone knew their job and trusted that their teammate would execute theirs. It’s fun to watch.”
Freshman Eliza Konvicka, in her collegiate series debut, recorded 11 kills, ten digs, three aces and three blocks against Kent State. Even continuing to play despite suffering an ankle injury.
“She did amazing,” Chang said, on Kovnicka’s weekend performance. “In the second game against Kent State she went down with a twisted ankle, but then she came back in the next game better than ever, we didn’t even notice it.”
Overall, Kovnicka racked up 28 kills across the weekend, which currently leads the team, and her stand-out performance awards her honors of Ivy League Rookie of the Week.
This strong start to the season is hopefully a precursor to future success for the Red. Cornell was projected to finish seventh in the Ivy standings, according to the Ivy League Preseason Poll. However, the team is determined to work hard and excel well beyond those predictions.
The main goal this year is to “win the Ivy’s and [get] to the Ivy league tournament,” Chang said. “I think just putting in 100 percent effort in every practice and staying focused in every game, we should get there no problem.”
While the season is still early, there are certainly improvements to be made in preparation for Ivy competition, which begins on Sept. 24.
“[We] definitely need to work on some things like communication and just playing next to each other,” Chang said. “This is a really young group of people, so just working on meshing well together and everything should come into place.”
Next weekend, volleyball will host Colgate University, University of Albany and Temple University at the Cornell Invitational at Newman Arena. Their first match is against Colgate on Friday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m.