NEW YORK - The Columbia volleyball team concluded its 2012 season Saturday night, with a 3-1 win over Princeton. The Lions won 25-22, 25-21, 22-25, 25-17, to improve to 14-9 overall and 9-5 in the Ivy League. Columbia finishes the season tied for second place in the Ivy League. Prior to the match, the Lions honored their graduating senior class, Heather Braunagel, Megan Gaughn and Kelsey Musselman, who played in their last match in Levien Gymnasium.
The match opened on a tear for Princeton, as the Tigers opened with a 4-0 run, and continued to lead the Lions early on. Columbia was able to spark a run with a kill from sophomore Denise Dearman. Down 9-6, the Lions went on a 6-1 run to tie the set and take the lead, 12-10. From there, Columbia continued to maintain the advantage, though Princeton kept it close. Columbia had set point on a kill from Caitlin Brenton, but the Tigers fought back, scoring four points with their backs to the wall to stay in the set. But a kill from senior Heather Braunagel ended it, 25-22, giving the Lions an early 1-0 lead.
Set two saw the Lions go up early, 7-3, and that's where they stayed. Princeton was able to tie the match at 12-12, but a kill from Braunagel gave the Lions the lead once more. A kill by Bailey Springer gave Columbia 19-14 lead, and from there, it was only a matter of time. A kill by Brenton gave the Lions set point, 24-21 and Princeton had a crucial team error to give Columbia the 25-21 win.
The third set saw an inspired Princeton team come out swinging. Despite an early Columbia lead, 3-1, the Tigers came back to tie it and take the lead, 6-5. From there, the Tigers did not trail again. Princeton led by as many as six points, and though Columbia began to close the gap late in the set, the damage was done, and the Tigers took the second set, 25-22.
With the 2-1 advantage heading into the fourth set, the Lions made a clear effort from the start. Columbia dominated, taking a 6-2 lead from the start. Princeton was able to come back and tie it at 12, but a kill from Braunagel swung the momentum back to the Lions. Columbia went on a 6-2 run to go up, 19-14. Again, Princeton would make a run late in the set, but the Lions were able to hold them off, and take the fourth set, 25-21.
Senior Megan Gaughn finished her last game for Columbia in style, notching a double-double with 20 kills and 12 digs. Senior Heather Braunagel had 12 kills, hitting .393, along with six blocks. Sophomore Caitlin Brenton had 11 kills and six blocks in the win for Columbia, while Charlee Dyroff had 18 digs to lead the team on defense.