The four game road stretch for Cornell’s volleyball had a rough beginning as the team dropped both matches last weekend to Brown and Yale. The Red (6-15, 2-8 Ivy League) lost in four sets on Friday in Providence to the Bears (6-13, 2-7 Ivy) and on Saturday in New Haven to the Bulldogs (14-5, 8-0).
Cornell was able to win the first set against Yale, 28-26, before losing a close second set, 23-25, and then getting blown away in the final two sets, 12-25. Junior outside hitter Sierra Young continued her consistent season as she led the Red with 13 kills. Junior middle blocker Rachel D’Epagnier also continued her hot streak with a .318 hitting percentage and eight kills.
The match on Friday was much closer as the Red lost the first two sets 24-26 and 15-25. The Red was able to pull out the third set win at 25-23, but lost the fourth and deciding set 20-25. D’Epagnier had a career day with 16 kills and a .406 hitting percentage with three errors on 32 attempts. Junior and captain outside hitter Kelly Marble and Young both had 11 kills apiece.
“It was definitely disappointing on Friday when we really did not show up to play,” said head coach Melissa Batie-Smoose. “Everybody plays better at home, which makes it so hard to get wins on the road especially in the Ivy League.”
While Batie-Smoose stated that serving has declined and improvements have to be made in defending the middle attack, she highlighted that focus is the key.
“We have to be mentally prepared and we just were not,” Batie-Smoose said. “We have to execute the scouting report and come determined to fight. My concern for this week is focus and mental preparation, especially against Dartmouth.”
The Red plays Dartmouth (2-18, 1-9 Ivy) on Friday and Harvard (8-13, 5-5 Ivy) on Saturday in its final two road games of the season. The Red’s last matchup against the Big Green started off well as they won the first two sets, but lost the next two before winning coming back and winning the fifth set at Newman Arena.
“We just have to serve aggressively and come out mentally prepared,” Batie-Smoose said. “We put them in positions to succeed in practice and now they just have to do it in games.”