NEW YORK -- The Columbia volleyball team opened its 2013 Ivy League home slate with a thrilling five-set comeback victory over Penn on Friday night in Levien Gym. The Lions won by scores of 22-25, 25-11, 20-25, 25-23, 15-7.
The victory snapped a three-match losing skid for the Lions (3-8, 1-1 Ivy League) and improved their home record to 2-1. Penn fell to 6-7 on the season and remained winless in Ivy League action, 0-2.
Sophomores Bailey Springer and Atlanta Moye-McLaren led the Columbia offense yet again as the only players between both teams to post double-figure kills. Springer, who ranks second in the Ivy League in kills per set, posted a match-high 14 kills to go with seven digs and two services aces. Moye-McLaren, ranked third in the conference in kills, contributed 11 kills and nine digs, falling just shy of a double-double.
Although Penn led for the majority of the first set, the Lions showed persistence, tying the score on three occasions. With the score knotted at 20-all, Penn got a pair of kills from Alex Caldwell and Jasmine DeSilva and held on for the win.
Defending their home court, the Lions shot out to an 8-2 advantage in set two. Penn responded with four straight points to cut Columbia’s lead to one, prompting the Lions to call timeout. Regaining momentum, Columbia surged ahead with a 6-0 run, including a trio of kills by Springer, leaving the Quakers without an answer.
The Lions trailed by as much as nine in the third set, but rallied to cut their deficit to four, 24-20, before the Quakers pulled off the win.
Trailing two sets to one, the Lions came fighting in the fourth set. With Penn up 8-7, Columbia rallied from behind with six consecutive points to take control. The Quakers fought back, outscoring the Lions until the set was tied once again, 19-all. A back-and-forth battle ensued, until Kesi Neblett smacked a kill, followed by a block to bring the Lions within one point of a fourth set victory, 24-21. However, the Quakers had an answer, grabbing the next two points to force a Columbia timeout. The Lions came back roaring for the win thanks to a Petrovich-to-Springer kill.
The fifth set victory came easily for the Lions with the support of an enthusiastic home crowd. Columbia jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and did not trail in posting the victory.
Columbia will wrap up its Ivy League home-opening weekend against Princeton on Saturday, October 5 at 5 p.m.