NEW YORK - The Columbia volleyball team won its third straight match and swept the Columbia Invitational, kicking off the home season with a perfect 3-0 mark following a 3-0 sweep over Rhode Island and a 3-2 victory over Hofstra in Levien Gymnasium on Saturday.
In the first match of the day, Columbia (5-4) defeated Rhode Island (4-7) by scores of 25-18, 25-18, 28-26.
A kill by Denise Dearman got the Lions off to a 1-0 advantage in the first set, but Rhode Island would soon tie things up and take the lead. With the score at 10-7, Columbia scored four consecutive points, highlighted by a kill and service ace by Atlanta Moye-McLaren, to take over 11-7. URI would knot the score three times, but with the set tied at 12-12, the Lions had two straight kills that would help them take control for the remainder of the set, eventually building up to a 25-18 first set win.
The Lions would also score first in the second set and built up their lead to as much as seven, but URI rallied to bring the Rams within three, forcing a Columbia timeout. Columbia came back refreshed, scoring three in row to help secure the lead the rest of the way to post the second 25-18 victory of the day.
Columbia stayed hot in set three, getting off to a quick 3-0 lead. The Rams tied it up at 11-11, and from there, a back-and-forth battle would ensue. The score was tied on 10 occasions throughout the nail biting third set, including 25-25 and 26-26 ties that would push the match to a 28-26 decision in the Lions' favor.
In the Lions' second match of the day, Columbia defeated the Hofstra Pride in an intense five-set match that ended with scores of 19-25, 25-21, 25-19, 19-25, 15-12.
Hofstra was the first to get on the board in the first set. The Pride held onto the lead until a Moye-McLaren ace evened the score, 10-10. But Hofstra's strong offensive output kept the Pride ahead to get the win, recording 19 first set kills compared to just seven by the Lions.
The second set also began with the Pride scoring first. Despite the Lions grabbing a brief 2-1 lead soon thereafter, Hofstra built up its advantage to four to leave Columbia trailing, 9-5.
The Lions responded with a 3-0 run to make it a one-point game. Hofstra came back with a kill but could not stop the Lions from tying the score and taking over as Columbia embarked on a 4-0 spurt for a 12-10 lead. The game would turn into a back-and-forth battle, with the score evening out four more times before Columbia surged ahead with four unanswered points to go ahead, 24-20, to soon earn a 25-21 win.
The Lions wasted little time in posting a 3-0 lead in the third set of the night, which would be a convincing indicator of how the remainder of the set would play out, as Columbia built up to as much as a 10-point advantage en route to the victory.
Hofstra jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth set and led the rest of the way to even the match series, 2-2, forcing match five.
A back-and-forth fifth set kept the tension high and hopes alive as Columbia and Hofstra battled through ties early on. With the score knotted 7-7, the Lions surged ahead with three unanswered points to help boost Columbia to a 15-12 fifth set victory and 3-2 match win.
Columbia, which defeated Colgate 3-1 on the first night of the tournament in its home opener, was led by the tournament Most Valuable Player, first-year Moye-McLaren, who put up double-doubles with 10 kills and 13 digs in both matches vs. Hofstra and URI. She also narrowly missed a double-double against Colgate, as she recorded nine kills and 16 digs.
Gaughn and Fletcher were also named to the All-Tournament team after recording impressive numbers throughout the tournament. Gaughn put up 23 kills, five blocks and 22 digs, while contributed 13 blocks and 13 kills in total.
Also named to the tournament team was Nikki Kinnier (Hofstra), Kelsie Wills (Hofstra), Britta Baarstad (Rhode Island) and Michelle McCarthy (Colgate).
Final Tournament Results
Friday, September 14
4 p.m. - Hofstra def. Rhode
Island, 3-2 (25-20, 25-27, 26-28, 25-17)
7 p.m. - Columbia def. Colgate, 3-1 (25-18, 25-20, 24-26, 25-19)
Saturday, September 15
11 a.m. - Columbia def. Rhode
Island, 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 28-26)
1:30 p.m. - Hofstra def. Colgate, 3-2 (23-25, 25-14, 25-19, 16-25, 15-11)
4:30 p.m. - Colgate def. Rhode Island, 3-1 (21-25, 25-21, 25-11, 25-22)
7 p.m. - Columbia def. Hofstra, 3-2 (19-25, 25-21, 25-19, 19-25, 15-12)
2012 Columbia Invitational All-Tournament Team