The volleyball team seeks to sneak into the top half of the Ivy League this weekend.
Cornell (13-9, 5-5 Ivy), fourth in the Ancient Eight, comes to New Haven Friday night. Yale (10-9, 4-5) is currently tied for fifth place with Brown (8-13, 4-5). League-doormat Columbia (8-15, 1-9) will arrive Saturday.
But fighting for fourth place will not motivate too many teams. Out of the league title picture, the Elis are admittedly a little more lethargic, but coach Peg Scofield said the team has to stay focused.
“It’s a difficult situation,” Scofield said. “We’ve been working hard, but have we been working as hard we’d be if we were 7-1 and at the top of the league? Not really. But we haven’t given up in any sense.”
Cornell comes to the John J. Lee Amphitheater tonight as a wounded duck. After losing to the Bulldogs, the Big Red dropped another two in a row to fall from 5-2 in the Ivy League to 5-5 and land in fourth place, just a half-game ahead of Yale.
Scofield knows the Big Red will be looking to right their ship and save their season.
“We started them on that path, and they may think that turning it around on us is the ultimate revenge,” Scofield said. “We don’t have the luxury of taking anyone lightly.”
Tomorrow, Columbia will try to avenge a five-game loss to Yale where the final game went into overtime. The Bulldogs rode the momentum from that win to a three-match win streak and will seek to extend the progress.
“The team we played then is still the team we have now, and if everyone shows up, plays hard and executes, we should win and perform better than the last time,” Scofield said.
A bright spot throughout the season has been the play of freshmen Jacqueline Becker ’06 and Renee Lopes ’06. Becker won her second Ivy League Rookie of the Week trophy this past weekend, and Lopes has won the award as well, but just once.
Becker has 766 assists, 10th highest all-time at Yale for a season, and she is fourth in the league with 11.78 assists-per-game.
“Jackie [Becker] has done a really great job of catching up to the level of college volleyball,” Scofield said. “It’s an underrated transition stepping up from an excellent club team to Division 1 ball.”
Lopes leads the league in hitting percentage at .365 and Jana Freeman ’05 is second in kills-per-game with 4.00.
Scofield said she would not throw other young players into the lineup just to look toward the future.
“I’m not that kind of coach,” Scofield said. “I never think about anything but winning one match to the next. I’m going to play the best team right until the end.”