Volleyball drops seventh straight
By Victor Muchatuta
Published on Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The Dartmouth volleyball team went on the road last weekend to face off against Ivy League rivals Columbia University and Cornell University. Unfortunately, the Big Green (2-15, 1-6 Ivy) lost both games, extending the team’s losing streak to seven matches.
In the first game, Dartmouth travelled to New York to take on Columbia (8-8, 3-4 Ivy) on Friday. The Big Green came out of the locker room on fire, easily taking the first set and showing flashes of both offensive and defensive brilliance. The team’s early play was defined by an efficiency and precision that hadn’t been as evident in previous matches, particularly when receiving the serve.
“We came out strong and focused for the first set versus Columbia,” head coach Erin Lindsey said. “We were able to execute our offensive plan, especially because of how well we received the serve.”
The Big Green did not assert its dominance for the full duration of the match, however, and the Lions rallied in the second set, quickly attaining an impressive 21-6 lead. The lack of focus and potency that characterized the Lions in the first game completely disappeared, and they seemed to be a new team with a new strategy.
“Columbia made adjustments to their game plan for the second set,” Alex Schoenberger ’15 said. “They made it difficult for us to score points, and in the end, we failed to respond effectively to their new approach.”
Schoenberger finished the game with a team-leading 12 kills, but her effort was not enough, as the Big Green never returned to its form of the first set and lost the next in a row. Columbia finished the match with an aggressive 25-12 win in the final set to take the match.
On Saturday, the Big Green travelled to Ithaca, N.Y., to take on Cornell (6-12, 2-5 Ivy). Coming off a 3-1 loss to Harvard University the day before, the Big Red rebounded and took the first two sets from Dartmouth. With a 13-8 lead in the third set and the game looking all but won for Cornell, the Big Green dug deep and managed to turn the set around, eventually taking it, 25-23, thanks to an emphatic kill by Elisa Scudder ’14.
“We played the third set with more urgency and intensity,” Lindsey said. “Anytime that happens, you’re going to upset the course of the game and potentially reap the rewards. Thankfully, we did.”
The Big Green’s improved play in the third set seemed to give the team a new wave of confidence, which it rode into the next set, as well. Dartmouth dominated the fourth set, comfortably winning with a score of 25-13, thanks in no small part to impressive performances by Scudder, Schoenberger and Paige Caridi ’16.
“I am so proud of the way the team responded versus Cornell,” Scudder said. “It really showed how determined and disciplined we’re becoming as a team.”
With the game tied at two sets apiece, the Big Green was hoping to carry the momentum going into the final set, but Cornell showed its mettle, prevailing 15-10 to seal the victory.
“I don’t think fitness is an issue,” Schoenberger said regarding the Big Green’s five-set loss on Saturday. “We showed at the beginning of the season against Harvard and again at Cornell that we can fight through five games with teams. We’re struggling to execute as well as we’d hope, but we’re working on figuring out how to maintain our success throughout an entire match.”
Next up for the Big Green is an away match against Harvard (7-11, 4-3 Ivy). The Crimson is a team high on confidence in the wake of convincing victories over Cornell and Columbia.
“We have tons to work on, frankly probably more that can be accomplished in the practice time we have,” Lindsey said. “But I feel that we really improved on some of our problem areas this weekend, and although it may not show in the outcome of the matches, we are getting better, and that’s very important for us as a team moving forward.”
Beyond all the speculation of what has caused the team’s run of bad form, there is reason for optimism. Ten of the team’s 16 players are freshmen or sophomores, and the added experience that the final seven Ivy League games will provide could pay dividends a few years down the road.