MOUNT VERNON — For Rory Light, the opportunity to play volleyball at Cornell College was full of positives.
The freshman could remain in Mount Vernon, where she starred as a prep for the hometown Mustangs for four years. Two of her former high school teammates — Sydney Meeker and Katie Wycoff — were already on the Cornell roster. Playing for the Rams also reunited Light with her club volleyball coach, Jeff Meeker, now in his 18th season as the Cornell coach.
Plenty of familiarity has resulted in plenty of success.
“The team is just so accepting,” Light said after Cornell swept Knox, 25-16, 25-17, 25-11, in a Midwest Conference match Tuesday night at Small Multi-Sport Center. “There are only two of us (freshmen), so we were accepted onto the team right away and it was really nice of them.”
The win was the sixth in a row for Cornell (12-7, 5-0 MWC). Light chipped in five kills and ranks second on the team with 179 this season. She also leads the Rams with 51 blocks.
“Just try to get the ball to the ground,” Light said. “It helps to have some teammates that know how to pass the ball, set the ball.”
At Mount Vernon (2015-18), Light posted 844 kills and helped the Mustangs reach a state semifinal three times. She was a second team all-state selection by the Iowa Girls Coaches Association in 2017, then honored on the first team a year later. Light also played four years of club ball with Eastern Iowa Extreme under Jeff Meeker.
“We knew that she was going to be really good coming in,” Jeff Meeker said. “We knew her well. She was familiar with what we do, our system, our players, so it was a little bit less of an adjustment maybe than typical freshmen.”
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Knox (10-14, 2-3) scored 10 of the first 13 points in the opening set, but Cornell responded with a 22-6 explosion. The Prairie Fire had a 10-7 lead in Set 2, but the Rams answered with an 18-7 burst. Cornell capped the sweep with a 17-5 surge in the clinching set.
Sophomore outside hitter Alissa McEndaffer led the Rams with 12 kills, while Sydney Meeker tallied 15 digs and junior setter Danielle Amonica posted 28 assists.
The Rams have won 41 regular-season conference matches in a row.
“We had a slogan at the beginning of the year that was, ‘Better than Yesterday,’” Jeff Meeker said. “The teams that are best at the end of the year keeping making progress in small ways, and I feel like we have been consistent with that over the last several weeks.”