In victory as well as in defeat, the women’s volleyball team always finds something to build on for the future.

This weekend, the Bulldogs (4-2, Ivy 0-0) will compete against Albany (5-7), Dayton (10-4) and Long Island (5-6) in the Albany Invitational. But their greatest competition will be themselves.

After falling to No. 1 Penn State, the defending national champions, the Bulldogs know that in order to improve, they must build on their strengths and weaknesses as well as place trust in their teammates. The Elis need to believe that they can bounce back, rely on each other and fine-tune their play on both sides of the net before the Ivy League season begins.

“We need to start believing and trusting each other,” captain and setter Ally Mendenhall ’09 said. “A lot of doubt got in our way last weekend.”

This week, the team will not be concerned with changes in its technique, strategy or statistics. Players said they have been working hard in practice to foster team chemistry in an effort to be prepared for whatever challenges they might face.

Head coach Erin Appleman said she knows that her players have the ability to compete at a high level because of their hard work in practice.

The team has to be happy with many of its standout players including its new formidable outside hitter duo of Alexis Crusey ’1o and Cat Dailey ’10 — the two have combined for 115 kills in 18 games.

On Friday, The Bulldogs travel to Albany, N.Y., for their fourth straight match on the road. The Bulldogs open their tournament against host team Albany. This will be the final pre-season matchups for the Bulldogs this season.

“The other teams will make us step up our level of play,” Mendenhall said. “But we’re ready.”