NEW YORK - The Columbia volleyball team rallied back to take a thrilling win from Penn in five sets, 3-2. The Lions and the Quakers battled back and forth, with Columbia taking the victory, 29-27, 21-25, 25-20, 19-25, 15-13.
Every single set of the night was a challenging one for the Lions in this win, as the two teams were evenly matched right from the start. Set one opened with Penn ready to fight, as the Quakers went up on the Lions 6-2. Columbia head coach Jon Wilson called a timeout to right the ship, and the Lions came out on a 4-1 run to close the lead to 7-6. From there, a kill by Madeline Rumer tied it up at 9, and a kill from Megan Gaughn gave Columbia its first lead of the day, 10-9. From there, Columbia went on a run, Controlling the offense and taken the lead. A kill from first-year Caitlin Brenton made it 15-12, and a service ace by Colleen Brennan gave the Lions their largest lead of the set at 16-12. But Penn would rally back to tie the score up at 16, and from there, the two teams were locked in a back and forth battle for the advantage. Penn actually came close to winning the set, as a Columbia attack error gave the Quakers set point, 24-22, but a Penn attack error followed by a kill from senior Cindy Chen tied the score, and the battle began anew. A kill from Gaughn gave Columbia the edge, 25-24, but Penn would tie it up again. As was the case, a kill from Brenton would be answered with a Penn kill, and a block by Brenton and Rumer to give the Lions a 27-26 lead would be negated by a kill from Penn. A kill from Chen once again gave Columbia set point, 28-27, and this time, Penn made an error on offense, and the win was Columbia’s, 29-27.
The second set saw Penn take an early lead and stay there. Though Columbia would face a 21-15 deficit and battle back to stay within three, Penn took the set in the end, 25-21. With the score tied at 1-1, the two teams headed to the locker rooms for a ten minute break. Coming out of the break, Penn seemed to ride the momentum of the second set, going up 5-1 on the Lions. But Columbia used a kill from Gaughn, a service ace by Charle Dyroff, blocks by Brenton, Gaughn and Savannah Fletcher and a kill from Brenton to rally back and tie the set up at 7-7. From there, it was once again a back and forth, as Columbia would pull ahead by one point, and Penn would answer with a point of their own, staying in the hunt throughout. Columbia used a kill from Gaughn to go up 20-19, and a service ace from Gaughn made it 21-19, giving the Lions their first lead of more than one point in the match. From there, Penn attack errors made it 23-20, and a kill from Fletcher made it 24-20, giving the Lions set point. From there, Brenton and Monique Roberts ended it with a huge block at the net, taking the set 25-20, and giving Columbia a 2-1 lead.
But as was the theme of the game, for every lead Columbia etched, Penn had an answer. The Quakers rallied back in the fourth set to dominate the Lions and take the win, 25-19, forcing a fifth set. But both teams seemed to have lost their focus in the all important fifth set, as it was riddled with errors by both teams. Columbia managed to pull ahead on the Quakers 7-3, but four of those points were capitalizing on Penn attack errors. And the Quakers would rally back to tie it up at 8-8, forcing both teams to play at their best. Columbia used a kill from Chen, followed by a kill from Rumer to go up 11-9, and a kill from Roberts made it 13-11. A block by Gaughn and Roberts put the match in the Lions’ hands, as they were up 14-11 and serving for the whole shebang. Penn managed to pull out two more points, but the match ended with an attack error by the Quakers, and Columbia took the set win, 15-11, and the match, 3-2.
Megan Gaughn led the Lions with 16 kills and 21 digs, while senior Cindy Chen had 10 kills and 18 digs. Sophomore setter Colleen Brenan also notched a double double, with 39 assists and 11 digs. First-year Caitlin Brenton had 12 kills hitting .440, along with three digs and five blocks. Senior Monique Roberts had six kills and six total blocks, while Madeline Rumer had nine kills in the win. Sophomore Charlee Dyroff paced the defense with 25 digs, while first year Molly Winger had 10 digs of her own.
With the win, the Lions are now 10-5 overall, and 4-1 in the Ivy League. Up next for Columbia is another Ivy League road trip, as the Lions will head north to take on Dartmouth and Harvard, Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15.