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The Dartmouth
May 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Volleyball defeats Cornell and Columbia with new head coach

This weekend, volleyball traveled to New York to take down Cornell and Columbia, getting the Big Green one step closer to a spot in the Ivy League Tournament.

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This weekend, volleyball was back in action, winning against Cornell University and Columbia University in Ivy League play. Dartmouth now stands 5-7 overall and 2-1 in conference. 

After the previous week’s losses against the University of New Hampshire and Harvard University, Dartmouth meticulously reviewed their technical errors and incorporated new tactics into their practices, according to co-captain Natalie Grover ’24. 

“I think of the resiliency aspect of learning from the past from a technical standpoint, but then [we] really [focus] on our next match, which is really what we can control,” Grover said.  

Having started her role this past June, Volleyball head coach Kevin Campbell, who entered the role this past June, said she has strong goals for the team in her first season. 

“I chose to come here because I believe it aligns very closely with who I am as a person and as a coach,”  Campbell said. “I have a very clear vision of where this program is going.”

Campbell reiterated that one of her top priorities is to cultivate mental resilience within the team. 

“Our culture is trying to help this team work on the mental strength to stay in the moment and to stay in their own growth process,” Campbell said.

Dartmouth traveled to Ithaca, New York on Friday to face off against Cornell University. In the first set, both teams traded blows until the Big Green broke away, capitalizing on their offensive power coupled with Big Red hitting errors. This proved to be a crucial swing, as Dartmouth went on to win the first set 25-19. 

The second set showcased the offensive power of the team as 21 of the 25 points won were kills. The team built on this second set win in the third set with an impressive 13-6 lead that quickly developed into a 19-10 advantage for the Big Green. Cornell would not be able to overcome this wide deficit and eventually lost the final set 25-18.

Individually, Ellie Blain ’24 had nine kills and nine digs, Makenzie Arent ’23 secured 23 assists and eight digs, Kauany Gutz ’26 had 10 kills and eight digs and Bomi Ogunlari ’24 helped with nine kills and three blocks.

The Big Green’s second match of the weekend against Columbia was extremely tight as a fifth set was played. The game went back and forth as both teams traded sets until the score was 2-2. 

In the final set, Dartmouth started with a 5-0 run which they continued to victory. Ultimately, Dartmouth took the last set and won 3-2. For the majority of the match, Dartmouth would work to chip away after any moment Columbia gained a notable lead. 

Amelia Gibbs ’24 had 14 kills and eight digs, Gutz secured 13 kills and 11 digs, Blain ended with 12 kills and 14 digs and Arent had 33 assists and two service aces, which ended in a victory against Columbia. This hard-earned success improved the Big Green’s Ivy League standing to 2-1, while Columbia is yet to secure a conference win. 

The Big Green had an advantage over the Lions, leading with 58 kills compared to Columbia’s 43 kills. Columbia only had two more errors compared to Dartmouth –– the Big Green trailing only by two errors. Despite Columbia’s loss, the Lions had one more ace over Dartmouth.

Grover and co-captain Blain both pointed out tough mentality and collaborative teamwork as the key to their victories. Blain was proud of the team’s performance, specifically, “everyone’s capability to step on the court.” 

“I think everyone has really been able to contribute in different ways,” Blain said. “And I’m just proud of our ability to support one another.”

The Big Green looks ahead to their next games at home against the University of Pennsylvania on Friday, Oct. 6 and Princeton University on Saturday, Oct. 7. Dartmouth hopes to build upon their previous wins, improving their standing in the Ivy League and putting themselves in a stronger position regarding securing a conference title. 

“It doesn’t matter who’s on the other side of the net,” Blain said. “We are trying to go forward, just play our own game and work together.”

Due to recent performances, women’s volleyball set their season’s goal on securing the Ivy title. Grover reflected on the team’s goal of “trusting the process,” as the athletes work towards achieving this accomplishment. 

“Pushing each other to get better in the gym every single day is what’s obviously going to lead to success by getting into the Ivy Tournament,” Grover said. “I’m excited to see what we can do.”