While hitting the road over the weekend for the first time this season didn’t result in wins for the women’s volleyball team, the trip to Ohio afforded a chance for the girls to gain experience working together as a team. The Red faced tough competition at the Best Western Falcon Plaza Invitational, falling to Bowling Green State, Oakland and IPFW.
“It was the first time on the road, and that in itself poses some new challenges, some of which we faced well and some of which caught us a little bit off-guard,” said junior setter Jordan Reeder.
The first of the three games was against host Bowling Green State (2-7) who defeated the Red, 3-0.
“In the first game, we played against Bowling Green and they did have a really tough crowd, but we fought really hard and I think that a lot of the girls did show a lot of effort, but Bowling Green were very good competitors,” said junior defensive specialist Risa Ka’awa.
A strong presence on the Red’s side of the net was junior Madeleine Przybyl, who led with six kills and a .429 hitting percentage.
After earning a 25-15 loss in the first set, the Red picked up its momentum in the last two sets. During the final set against BGSU, the Red held on to a lead of four points to 24-20, before its opponent took the 27-25 win with four straight kills.
“It seemed like we were a little timid in the beginning and I guess we could have shown more confidence right off the bat. But you could tell we wanted to win,” Ka’awa said.
Oakland (5-6) defeated the Red, 3-0, during Cornell’s second game of the weekend.
“In the Oakland game we started off a little slower than we expected,” Ka’awa said.
Both freshman Janel Forte and junior Kelly Hansen led Cornell with seven kills each and a .238 hitting percentage. Reeder helped the Red with her 26 assists.
Though it came out with a 3-1 loss, the Red played aggressively during its final game of the invitational against IPFW (5-5).
Cornell won the first set 25-22 before falling in the next three sets. Hansen registered 19 kills, and Forte led the team with a .424 hitting percentage. During the match’s four sets, Reeder finished with a career-high 52 assists.
IPFW proved a tough competitor. The team, which took first slot in the invitational after going undefeated for the weekend, brought three players to the Cornell match who had more than 10 kills apiece. While the Red outhit IPFW (.228-.192) and posted more blocks (9-6), IPFW delivered an impressive 11 service aces to Cornell’s five that helped set the Mastodons ahead.
“We fought really hard during the IPFW game. We just came out and we gave it our all and we all fought really hard for that game. It was a bummer that we lost, but I think a lot of us showed a lot of heart, because we knew that we had nothing else to lose,” Ka’awa said.
These games have pointed out to the Red that the team still needs to focus on its overall chemistry on the court.
“In preseason, we’ve been doing really well in practices and had chemistry right off the bat, but translating it into the game is something we’re going to be working on,” Ka’awa said.
This week in practice, the team will prepare for its upcoming string of matches, as the Red’s schedule of conference play approaches.
“In a sense, we’re only a few games into the season and there are a lot of new people who are getting key playing time so it’s not uncommon for there to be stretches of good with stretches of bad. At this point we should start rounding things off as we enter the Ivy League season in the next couple weeks,” Reeder said.