|Kills||Anja Malesevic (27)||Parker Jones (19)|
|Assists||Audrey Cheng (47)||Sydney Morton (48)|
|Aces||Audrey Cheng (3)||Aimee Stephenson (2)|
|Digs||Natasha Kosowicz (22)||Caroline Furrer (15)|
|Blocks||Chichi Ikwuazom (11)||Kendall Covington (4)|
PHILADELPHIA — After dropping the first two sets and facing a 22-17 deficit in the third, the Columbia volleyball team rallied to force a fifth set against Penn. Despite the effort, the Lions were ultimately turned away (18-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-16, 9-15) Saturday evening at the Palestra.
Columbia (9-12, 4-8 Ivy) scored eight of the final nine points in the third set to begin the comeback. The Lions reeled off five straight to tie the set at 22 and a kill by senior Anja Malesevic tied the score again at 23. Sophomore Chichi Ikwuazom came up with the final two points on back-to-back blocks, stunning the home team and earning Columbia the set.
All the momentum carried over into the fourth, where the Lions used a 12-2 run to gain a 17-8 advantage. Ikwuazom was part of three straight blocks to close the run and Columbia cruised to a nine-point victory, forcing a fifth and deciding set.
The Lions scored the first two points of the tiebreak and led 7-6 after a Malesevic kill. Penn (12-9, 7-5 Ivy) responded with the next three points and never gave the lead back. Columbia pulled within one at 10-9 on Malesevic’s final kill of the match, but the Quakers stifled the comeback with five straight points to clinch the match.
Two-time reigning Ivy League Player of the Week Anja Malesevic continued to impress in the final few weeks of her collegiate career. The senior led all players with 27 kills, tying the career mark she set in back-to-back victories last weekend over Harvard and Dartmouth. She ended the match hitting an even .200 and has now recorded 20 or more kills in five of her last seven matches. Malesevic added to her night with four blocks and nine digs.
Sophomore Chichi Ikwuazom also tied a career-high with 11 blocks, leading the Lions to a season-high 16 team blocks. The New York native came up with four of the team’s six blocks in a dominating 25-16 fourth set. The six blocks accounted for eight of Penn’s attacking errors, resulting in the Quakers hitting -.057 in the frame. Ikwuazom came up one kill shy of a double-double.
Junior Natasha Kosowicz reached a career-high in digs to lead the defensive effort on the ground. Kosowicz, who has recorded double-figure digs in five straight matches, went for 22 on the evening. It tied the mark she set in an October 21 win against Cornell. Sophomore Kalie Wood (13) and rookie setter Audrey Cheng (12) also posted double figures in digs. Cheng racked up 47 assists to earn her fourth double-double and also led the match with three aces.
For Penn, Parker Jones headed a trio in double-figure kills with 19. The freshman outside hit a team-best .341 and posted 12 digs to earn a double-double. Setter Sydney Morton also recorded a double-double by going 12 digs and a match-high 48 assists. Sophomore outside Caroline Furrer led the team in digs with 15.
The Lions return home for the final weekend of the season, hosting Brown on Friday and Yale on Saturday. The career of Columbia’s lone senior, Anja Malesevic, will be recognized during Saturday’s Senior Night ceremony.