ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Cornell's anticipated 2013 volleyball season started with a quick sweep of UW-Platteville, and then saw the Rams take the first set from No. 7 nationally-ranked Washington-St. Louis University during Sunday's Labor Day Classic.
Cornell, a votes-getter in the AVCA Top 25 Preseason Poll, wound up falling to perennial Division III power Wash U. on the Bears' home floor – 25-27, 25-21, 25-15 and 25-10. The Rams needed just an hour in the opener to post a 25-9, 25-11, 25-10 victory over UW-Platteville.
"We played some great volleyball this weekend and I am very encouraged with this team's potential," Cornell head coach Jeff Meeker said. "We will get back at it (Monday) and work very hard to get better."
Senior outside hitter Kathleen O'Connor and junior libero Kylea Weber were both honored on the all-tournament team. O'Connor, a two-time reigning conference MVP, hit .268 with 22 kills (3.14 kps) and 29 digs for the day. Weber led the team with 36 digs (5.14 dps) and delivered five ace serves.
The Rams (1-1) rallied from a 19-17 deficit against Wash U. (5-0) in a tight opening set. Cornell reeled off the final three points to earn the win, including a go-ahead block assist by Katie Sickelka and Mariah Brandly, followed by a game-ending kill from O'Connor.
In Set 2, Cornell jumped out to a 7-2 lead on a Taylor Dicus attack. Wash U. came back, tied it at 18-18, and then took control down the stretch. The Bears led for the entirety of the final two sets.
"We put ourselves in a great position against Wash U.," Meeker said. "Unfortunately things didn't go our way in sets 3 and 4. They played very good volleyball, and now we have a measuring stick for our progress."
O'Connor tallied 13 kills and 20 digs against the Bears. Jessica Noble had nine kills, with Dicus and Brandly adding seven apiece. Freshman Katherine Devlin dished out 21 assists, and Weber had a match-high 23 digs.
The Rams compiled a .395 attack percentage and served 11 aces against UW-Platteville (1-2). Devlin enjoyed a sterling start to her career with six aces and 19 assists, both team-highs. Weber fired four aces and led all players with 13 digs.
O'Connor and Brandly paced the offense with nine and eight kills, respectively. Dicus had seven kills, while Sickelka hit .714 with five kills and four block assists.
"We did just about everything well against Platteville," Meeker said. "Our serving and passing was solid. Our tempo in transition was excellent."
Coming up – The Rams take on the University of Dubuque in the home opener Friday, Sept. 7, in the Small Multi-Sport Center. First serve is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Friday marks the lone varsity home match of the month for Cornell, which doesn't return home again until Oct. 11 (Lake Forest).