After finishing the preseason with fewer wins than expected, the volleyball team (2-7) is preparing for its first Ivy League match on the road against Cornell.
In spite of the record, head coach Jon Wilson took away a lot of positives from his team’s performance during the preseason.
“We of course would have liked a little bit better record than we ended up with, but we still found new levels of volleyball play, especially down in Virginia, than we ever played at as a program,” Wilson said. “From that standpoint, we’re very happy to see that kind of level and quality. Now we’ve got to apply it and take it one level higher to have success in the league.”
The players had a similar sentiment as Wilson, citing the positives coming out of the games that weren’t necessarily apparent on the scoresheet.
“I think we did a good job this preseason of playing our game and not going into a match and just trying to beat the other team and forget what we learned in practice,” first-year Jennifer Petrovich said. “We really applied what we learned in practice to the game. We’re ready to go out there and fight and give it our best.”
Wilson said his team still needs to adapt to unfamiliar situations, learn to make good decisions under pressure, and read the ball better.
“The block and the basic defense is pretty good. We’d still like to get a little bit better at reading contacts,” Wilson said. “We’re still a little bit rote when the context requires some innate adaptation. You have a rote system that works when everything is plain and vanilla but volleyball gets tutti-frutti very quickly. You have to read context, you have to get your clues from first contact, second contact.”
Because it’s still early in the season, Wilson is focused on more of his side of the net, but he is also thinking ahead specifically how to play against Cornell.
“For me, in the first half of the season, you’re still shaping your own team most of the time and preparing for your opponent as much as you can,” Wilson said. “Whereas in the second half of the season, you’ve seen everyone once, and the team that we are is going to have its personality by the midpoint of the Ivy season and from thereon out, there’s even more of a tactical emphasis on the upcoming opponents.”
The match will be starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday in Ithaca.