Heading into conference play, the Columbia volleyball team (5-4) has high expectations, as it looks to start its Ivy League campaign with a win over Cornell.
Even with talented freshmen joining a cast of dependable veterans, the Lions will need to be competitive every night.
“We face a very tough league schedule with no guaranteed wins,” head coach Jon Wilson said. “We have got to be ready to bring it 14 out of 14 days. We got to see it as an opportunity to have a shot every night and have a good chance to get a win.”
Ivy League Player and Co-Rookie of the Week freshman Atlanta Moye-McLaren exemplifies the excitement that the class of 2016 brings to the team. Last weekend, Moye-McLaren recorded 29 kills and 42 digs in three matches at the Columbia Invitational and was the tournament MVP. Freshman middle hitter Katarina Jovicic has also shone for the Light Blue and led the team in kills against Colgate.
Against Cornell, the Light Blue will focus on defensive intensity, offensive flow, and making tougher serves. The team can continue its dominant presence at the net by being smart on offense and blocking well, which played a major role in its three wins over Colgate, Rhode Island, and Hofstra.
The Lions boast a balanced attack, with all three hitting positions contributing about the same amount of kills thus far. Middle blockers junior Savannah Fletcher and senior Heather Braunagel will be huge threats for Cornell to deal with, as their hitting percentages are both over .400.
“In the past, we had rotations where you could gang up on one or two of the players,” Wilson said. “If you leave anyone alone, they could have a big night. That’s what happened with Katarina against Colgate.”
The match starts in Levien Gymnasium at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22.