In an underwhelming weekend on the road, volleyball got swept at the South Florida Invitational after facing University of South Florida, University of South Dakota and Stetson University. The Red failed to come away with a set win, as it dropped each match 3-0.
Going into this last series of non-conference play, the team looked to make any final tuneups before Ivy competition began. However, it struggled to find its groove against three powerhouse teams.
“Obviously the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, flying all the way out to Florida to go 0-3, it’s not what any team wants,” said sophomore outside hitter Brooke Cooper.
One factor that continued to plague the Red across the weekend was errors, especially in comparison to its opponents. In game one against USF (6-6), it recorded 17 errors, compared to USF’s nine, 13 errors compared to six by South Dakota (11-1) in game two, and finally 25 errors compared to 15 by Stetson (9-3) in game three.
However, what likely could have been a forgettable weekend still had some positive takeaways.
“I [saw] moments of Cornell volleyball out there,” said Cooper. “Throughout being down in the sets, I [still] saw us fighting…I know that moving forward, that fight is gonna turn into winning sets.”
Additionally, many players continued their hot starts to the season and put up impressive numbers. Cooper notched 24 kills across the weekend, along with five service aces, and 13 digs. Freshman Eliza Konvicka also led the team in kills in game one and two, tallying nine and 13 kills in each game respectively.
Looking ahead, Cooper sees the team’s young and talented offense as its main asset entering Ivy competition.
“Our team this year is so talented,” said Cooper. “I just think we can run off our offense, our offense is so good this year. When we’re in system, we are getting so many kills, our middles are crazy, we’ve got some huge freshmen in there.”
The youth factor will certainly be key to the team’s success this year. Freshmen and sophomores now make up about 63 percent of the roster, which vastly outnumbers the three veteran seniors. Since the team is still quite young, they hope to gain more experience playing as one cohesive unit with each game that passes.
“I think the positive side of what I’ve seen so far is that we can really make an impact with our offense,” said Cooper. “The second we get our passing game mindset strong, we’re gonna make a huge impact in the Ivies.”
In preparation for its first Ivy match of the season against Columbia, the Red has been working hard in practice to prepare for any and all in-game situations.
“We have been working a lot on pressure situations to get us ready for pressure situations in game[s],” said Cooper. ”We do a lot of six on six, a lot of mini games where the score isn’t going our way, or the score is going our way, and just little situations here and there that will better prepare us for… Columbia this weekend.”
As Homecoming weekend approaches, the Red hopes to bounce back by learning from the losses and using them as fuel.
“It’s all about mindset at this point,” said Cooper. “Right now going into Ivies we’re 0-0. So don’t forget the losses but move on and use that…anger moving forward into Ivies.”
Cornell will host Columbia at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Newman Arena.