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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Mike McLaughlin

Volleyball Opens Ivy League Action at Cornell

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NEW YORK – The Columbia volleyball team is set to kick off 2013 Ivy League action at Cornell on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. in Newman Arena.

Scouting the Big Red:
Cornell (3-6) is riding a two-match losing streak after dropping the final pair of games to Morehead State and Rutgers at the Pittsburgh Tournament last weekend. The Big Red did pick up the first match of the series against host Pittsburgh in a five-set back-and-forth battle. On its home court, Cornell holds a 1-2 mark, defeating Iona, 3-1, during the Cornell Invitational earlier this season.

Breanna Wong leads the Cornell offense with 2.89 kills per set (fourth-best in Ivy League), while Kelly Marble has posted 2.85 per set. Sierra Young currently ranks 34th in the nation with 0.46 service aces per set.

Defensively, Rachel D'Epagnier is averaging team-best 0.92 blocks, contributing to the 1.78 blocks made per set as a team.

The All-Time Series:
Saturday's match marks the 57th meeting between Ivy League partners and New York rivals Columbia and Cornell. Although the Big Red holds a 46-10 advantage over the Lions in the all-time series, Columbia won the last four matches over the last two seasons and will look to continue its winning streak this weekend.

Scouting the Lions:
Killing It:
A pair of sophomores lead the Columbia attack, paced by Bailey Springer’s team-high 3.57 kills per set, good for second in the Ivy League. Teammate Atlanta Moye-McLaren is close behind, ranked third in the league with 3.07 per set. Springer recently recorded back-to-back doubles against Binghamton and Seton Hall. She exploded with new career highs of 25 kills and 16 digs versus the Bearcats, and followed that performance with 22 kills and 12 digs in the Cavalier Classic against the Pirates. Moye-McLaren has been a double-double machine for the Lions, recording five so far this year. The outside hitter had one of her strongest matches of the season in Columbia’s win over Fordham, swinging at a .417 mark with 17 kills and 23 digs.

Block Party: First-year Kesi Neblett has been a strong asset defensively for the Lions, tallying 33 blocks on the season (1.06/set). Ranked third in the conference, Neblett made a career-high seven blocks (two solo) against Binghamton, followed by another six versus Seton Hall.

No Diggity: The Lions are currently ranked 45th in the nation with 15.92 digs per set, led by a team-best 3.34 average by Moye-McLaren.

Jenny on the Block: First-year Jennifer Petrovich has been key in setting the Lions’ offense. She is tied with Moye-McLaren for the most double-doubles on the year, posting five to date. Sitting on top of the Ivy League standings, Petrovich has accumulated 355 assists (9.34/set), nearly one assist ahead of Cornell’s Alyssa Phelps (8.46/set).

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