Jason Wu/Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Middle Blocker/Right Side Sammie Engel '25 is introduced before Cornell Volleyball's game against UAlbany at Newman Arena on September 10, 2022.

September 28, 2022

Volleyball Opens up Ivy League Play with Win Against Columbia

Print More

This past Saturday, volleyball opened up Ivy League play against Columbia (3-7, 0-1 Ivy). The Red dropped the first set, but came back with a win in the next three consecutive sets to secure a 3-1 victory during Homecoming Weekend.

“I’m so proud of this team and how they played today after last weekend,” said head coach Trudy Vande Berg in reference to the team’s huge bounce back following their 0-3 record at the South Florida Invitational the weekend prior. 

In the first set, the two teams competed neck and neck and were tied 17-17 until late into the game, until Columbia went on a 4-0 run to extend their lead. Ultimately, Columbia took the first set to a score of 25-22, but that did not deter Cornell as they then settled down and found their groove.

“The approach was really just getting back into what we call ‘Cornell volleyball’ and … doing everything we can to play to our strengths, eliminate their strengths, and harp on their weaknesses,” said junior Sydney Moore. “I would say we stuck with that throughout the entire match and in those last three sets we really got into the groove of what ‘Cornell volleyball’ is all about.”

Shaking off the first set quickly, the team dominated the Lions in the second set. Early on, the Red went on an offensive tear, scoring six unanswered points to extend their lead. Columbia wasn’t able to make up the deficit, with Cornell holding on to win set two 25-17. 

Set three and four continued to showcase the Red’s dominance, as the team won 25-18 and 25-16, respectively. Throughout the match, Cornell out-matched Columbia in every statistic, namely in kills, aces, blocks, assists, and digs. 

“I was really happy with the team’s performance on Saturday,” Moore said. “I think we really needed that win and [it was] just a really fun vibe on the court.”

Many players put up impressive numbers to propel the team to victory. Freshman outside hitter Eliza Konvicka continued her hot start to the season, leading the team with 16 kills. Additionally, Moore tallied a team-high six blocks, along with eight kills, while senior setter Emma Worthington had a game-high 43 assists, to go along with seven digs and two blocks. 

Senior outside hitter Joanna Chang also notched 15 kills and 12 digs, and her .419 hitting percentage led the team. 

“Joanna played as well as I have ever seen her and we had so many that performed to their potential,” Vande Berg said. “It was a true team effort and was fun to watch.”

Ivy League play continues next weekend when the Red host Brown (4-6, 0-1) and Yale (9-1, 1-0) this Friday and Saturday. Brown and Yale faced each other in their Ivy opener last Friday, with Yale defeating Brown in a five set thriller. 

Facing Brown and Yale could prove to be difficult matchups, as they were predicted to go No. 1 and No. 3 respectively in the 2022 Ivy Preseason Poll. 

According to Moore, in preparation for next weekend, the team has been working hard in practice to study their opponents and hope to keep the winning momentum going.

“I think it’s [about] channeling the same energy from Saturday,” Moore said. “We’ve been spending a lot of time looking at Brown and Yale’s tendencies. Every match in the Ivy League is worth a lot, so just preparing as much as we can and keeping that confidence up.”

Cornell will face off against Brown at 7 p.m. this Friday, Sept. 30 and Yale at 5 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 1 at Newman Arena.