Volleyball continues emergency by defeating Cornell and Columbia
When you combine only four years of history and a team on a rapid rise to the top of the Ivy League, it's not unusual for new milestones to be reached. The Dartmouth women's volleyball team, however, isn't just cruising past their milestones with a casual hand wave: they're putting the pedal to the metal with their fists in the air.
Adding on to their best start in team history, the Big Green (11-2) opened up their Ivy League schedule this weekend with dominating three-game victories over Columbia (3-10) and Cornell (5-11).
Saturday's 15-8, 15-5, 15-2, win over Cornell was Dartmouth's first over the Big Red in Leede Arena.
"We hit the best shots that we needed to hit," Dartmouth head coach Ann Marie Larese said. "Defensively, we touched every ball that came over the net."
Larese also lavished praise on junior setter Felicity Kolp, who logged 36 assists and six dumps for kills on the match.
"Felicity set one of the best matches of her life," Larese said.
Kolp found outside hitter Emily Hallenbeck '99 for a team high 12 kills against Cornell. Hallenbeck capitalized on the Big Red's relatively short setter who was going up to block her.
"I had a lot of confidence," Hallenbeck said. "I finally felt the benefits of lifting and getting over the block."
Cornell, which was 10-1 against the Big Green coming into the match, had their lunch handed to them early, as Dartmouth jumped out to 7-1, 9-0, and 6-0 leads in each game.
"All the kids were ready to play," Larese said. "We served aggressively and played a nearly flawless sideout game."
Middle blocker Latia Curry '98 came up huge in the final game of the match, adding punch to the Big Green victory with two in-your-face stuff blocks that brought the crowd to its feet.
"We kept pushing them lower and lower into the puddle," Curry said. "I'm a really competitive person, and a block can be a real intimidation factor."
Curry credited the setting mastery of Kolp for the Big Green's offensive explosivity.
"Felicity completely mixed it up," she said. "They had no idea where she would set it. She fools us sometimes."
Not only did Kolp control the Dartmouth offense like a marionette, she repeatedly befuddled Cornell with dumps, none of which the Big Red were able to get a hand on.
"She did a great job of seeing where their defense wasn't," Curry said.
"If we have a strong serve receive game, then the team has confidence that they can get the ball to me, and I have the confidence that I can throw it up anywhere," Kolp said.
Defensive specialist Stasia Bochnowski '98 also attributed the the offensive success to Kolp.
"Our choices on offense were good," Bochnowski said. "Felicity made a lot of smart decisions out there."
Friday evening's defeat of Columbia, 15-4, 15-5, 15-7, featured a beleaguered Lion team that inflicted more damage on itself than its opponent.
Like the Cornell match, Dartmouth jumped all over the competition early, opening up 6-1, 5-1, and 11-1 leads that took the roar out of the Lions.
"We were able to overpower them from the beginning," Danra Kazenski '99 said. Kazenski racked up 10 kills in addition to being a key ingredient in forcing both the Lions and Big Red into going to their second or third options on offense.
In fact, good offensive opportunities were so few and far between for Columbia that they had more attacking errors than kills.
The highlight of the match may have been an acrobatic move by Hallenbeck to change directions mid-air and use her off-hand hand to tip a ball over the net for a kill.
"We were able to run whatever type of offense we wanted," Larese said. "We forced them to have to play our best shot all of the time."
Anne Murray '00 landed 11 kills in the Columbia match, while Janna Merryfield '00 provided three aces.