NEW YORK — The Columbia volleyball team returns to Levien Gymnasium to host Penn and Princeton as part of 2017 Homecoming Weekend. The Lions take on Penn Friday night at 7 p.m., followed by a matchup against defending Ivy League champion Princeton on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Fans who are unable to attend the matches can watch the Lions on the Ivy League Network. Live stats will also be available courtesy of GoColumbiaLions.com. Fans can also follow each match on Twitter by following @CUVB.
2017 HOMECOMING WEEKEND
The Columbia volleyball team’s two matches are part of six athletics events and a variety of alumni and fan-friendly events scheduled for this weekend at both Dodge Physical Fitness Center and Baker Athletics Complex. Complete details and a schedule of events for 2017 Homecoming Weekend can be accessed here.
The Columbia volleyball program welcomes all of its alumnae back to campus for alumnae weekend. The annual alumnae match is scheduled for Saturday morning around 10 a.m. at Levien Gymnasium. Alumnae are then invited to attend the 73rd annual Homecoming Football Game against Penn at 1:30 p.m., before returning to Levien Gym for the 5 p.m. match against Princeton.
The Lions (5-9, 0-5 Ivy) are in search of their first Ivy League victory after playing their first five conference matches on the road. Columbia fell in three sets in three of those matches and lost the other two in four sets. Sophomore Chichi Ikwuazom is hitting .354 and averaging a league-best 1.40 blocks per set in Ivy League play, but had to sit out last weekend’s matches at Yale and Brown due to injury. Sophomore Kalie Wood ranks No. 2 through Ivy League play in digs per set (3.88), while first-year setter Audrey Cheng is sixth in league competition in assists per set (7.19). On the season overall, senior Anja Malesevic is sixth in the Ivy League in kills per set (3.06), while the Lions place three among the conference’s top 10 in aces per set.
ACING THE COMPETITION
Columbia continues to rank among the top-10 nationally in aces per set (1.81), which is also the top mark in the Ivy League. The Lions have gone for 10 or more aces in three matches, including a season-high 13 aces on opening weekend against The Citadel (Sept. 2). Sophomore Grace Campbell leads the team with 17 total aces, while ranking 28th nationally and No. 2 in the Ivy League in aces per set (0.45). Sophomore Kalie Wood is eighth in the Ivy League at 0.33 aces per set, while first-year Kaitlin Schultz also ranks inside the top-10 with 0.31 aces per set.
Columbia will play just its third home match of the season and its first since hosting the Big Apple Battle on September 15-16. Dating back to last season, Columbia has won five straight and 11 of its last 12 matches on its home court. The Lions are 2-0 this season at Levien Gymnasium, defeating Fordham in three sets and St. Francis Brooklyn in four sets. In 2016, the Lions went 11-3 at home, including a 6-1 mark in Ivy League play.
Total Kills – Luciana Del Valle (122, 2.49/set)
Hitting Pct. – Chichi Ikwuazom (.397)
Total Assists – Grace Campbell (248, 6.53/set)
Total Digs – Kalie Wood (196, 3.77/set)
Total Aces – Grace Campbell (17, 0.45/set), Kalie Wood (17, 0.33/set)
Total Blocks – Chichi Ikwuazom (48, 1.12/set)
Total Points – Luciana Del Valle (137.5, 2.81/set)
Week 3 (Sep. 11-17)
- Honor Roll: Chichi Ikwuazom
Week 6 (Oct. 2-9)
- Honor Roll: Audrey Cheng
INSIDE THE SERIES
Columbia is 6-3 against Penn over the last nine series meetings since 2012. The Lions won both matches against the Quakers last season to earn their first season sweep in series history. Columbia came back from a 2-1 deficit to win the fourth and fifth sets in a thrilling match last year at Levien Gymnasium. In the regular season’s final weekend, Columbia traveled to Penn and won in four sets to secure its ninth Ivy League victory, which tied for the most in program history. Penn leads the all-time series, 41-8.
Princeton was the only team to defeat Columbia twice last season, and the only Ivy League team to win at Levien Gymnasium. The Tigers lead the all-time series, 44-6, and have won the last eight series meetings. Columbia’s last victory came in November of 2012 at Levien Gymnasium in four sets. Despite the lopsided series totals, Columbia won three straight series meetings in New York from 2010-12.
Penn (7-7, 2-3 Ivy) earned a split at home last weekend by defeating Dartmouth in four and falling to Harvard in five. The Quakers started their league schedule with road losses to Princeton and Yale before picking up their first victory the following weekend in five sets at Brown. Penn ranks among the top half of the Ivy League and top-100 nationally in hitting percentage (.228), led by Kendall Covington who is hitting .358 to rank No. 77 nationally and No. 4 in the conference. Caroline Furrer ranks inside the top-75 in the NCAA in aces per set (0.39) and No. 2 in the Ivy League in total aces (22). Setter Sydney Morton is third in the Ivy League in assists per set (9.63). Penn struggles on the block with a league-worst 1.82 blocks per set.
Princeton (12-3, 5-0 Ivy) is the only undefeated Ivy League team remaining. The Tigers hold a No. 46 ranking in the NCAA volleyball RPI, which places them among the top-10 mid-major programs. Sophomores Natasha Skov and Maggie O’Connell pace the Ancient Eight in kills per set (3.51 and 3.37) and points per set (3.88 and 3.81). Fellow Tiger sophomore Jessie Harris leads the Ivy League and ranks No. 32 nationally with 10.96 assists per set. As a team, Princeton ranks 28th nationally with an .800 winning percentage, 29th with 13.98 kills per set and 37th with 13.11 assists per set. Junior Nnenna Ibe was named Ivy League Player of the Week on Monday for leading the Tigers to a 2-0 week with victories over Dartmouth and Harvard. Ibe hit .600 with 23 combined kills and nine total blocks through the weekend. Skov and Harris have also been named Ivy League Player of the Week this season.