ITHACA, N.Y. – The Columbia volleyball team opened its Ivy League slate with a tightly contested five-set defeat at Cornell on Saturday in Newman Arena. The New York rivals traded victories, 25-12, 22-25, 25-22, 26-28, forcing the deciding set, 8-15.
The loss was Columbia’s first to Cornell dating back to 2011. The Lions swept the Big Red for two straight years, including last season when Columbia posted its best finish in program history, tying for second in the Ivy League.
Sophomore Atlanta Moye-McLaren once again led the way for the Lions, posting her sixth double-double of the season with 17 kills and 13 digs. Junior Molly Winger contributed 27 digs and three service aces on the day, while first-year Zoe Jacobs and senior Savannah Fletcher led the defense with six blocks each.
Columbia (2-8, 0-1 Ivy League) easily shut down the Big Red (4-6, 1-0 Ivy League) in the first set, using a midway 5-0 run to solidify its lead, taking over 19-10 without looking back.
Cornell bounced back to make it a close second set. Eyeing the win, the Lions pulled ahead with a 22-19 advantage, but the Big Red scored six straight points, including a pair of kills by Sarah Kramer, to even the match score at one apiece.
The Lions answered with a third set victory, edging the Big Red, 25-23, with four of the last five Columbia points coming from kills by Moye-McLaren
The battle raged on in the fourth set. Nearing the end, the Lions went ahead 24-22, but Cornell tied it up once again at 24-all to force the set into extra points before pulling out the win to even the match score. The Big Red stayed hot in the fifth set, rattling off seven unanswered points to take over 13-6, handing Columbia the loss.
The Lions will look to pick up their first Ivy League victory of the season next weekend on their home court in Levien Gymnasium. Columbia is set to take on Penn on Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. followed by a 5 p.m. showdown versus Princeton on Saturday.