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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Mike McLaughlin

Volleyball Rallies Back from 2-0 Deficit to Down Dartmouth, 3-2, Move into Tie for First Place in the Ivy League

NEW YORK – The Columbia volleyball team had an outstanding showing in Hanover, N.H., Friday night, as the Lions rallied back from a 2-0 deficit at Dartmouth, to win the match 3-2, and move into a tie for first place in the Ivy League. The Lions won 21-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-20, 15-13, to improve to 5-1 in the Ivy League, and with Princeton’s defeat of Yale in New Jersey, move into a three-way first place tie with the Tigers and Bulldogs. 

Set one saw the Big Green pounce on the Lions right away, as Dartmouth used home court advantage to the fullest. The Big Green went up 8-2 on the Lions in set one, sending Columbia back on its heels, with a lead they would not relinquish in the set. Though Columbia would close the lead to 18-17  with a kill from sophomore Madeline Rumer, Dartmouth managed to keep the lead, and took the first set, 25-21. 

The second set followed a similar pattern, as Dartmouth came out strong, going up 7-3 on the Lions on kills. Though Columbia fought back to 19-17, again, the Big Green’s lead was too much for the Lions to overcome, and Dartmouth took a 2-0 lead with the 25-20 set two win. 

A ten minute break between the second and third sets proved to be crucial for the Lions to regroup, and the third set saw a different team take the court. Though Dartmouth took a 2-1 lead early on, the Lions stayed right with them, using a kill from Savannah Fletcher to tie it up at 2-2. And throughout the set, Columbia would stay close. Though the Big Green went up 8-5, Columbia tallied back, using a kill from Megan Gaughn, a block by Caitlin Brenton and Fletcher, along with a kill from Rumer, to tie it up at 10-10. From there, the two teams traded the lead back and forth, with Dartmouth going up 20-18 at one point. But a kill from Fletcher, followed by a Dartmouth error and a kill from Sierra Worthy, made it 21-20 Columbia, and that taste of a win was all the Lions needed. A block from Brenton and Fletcher, followed by a kill from Fletcher made it 24-21, and with their backs to the wall, Columbia got a kill from Worthy to stay in the game, 25-21, and getting on the board, 2-1. 

At this point, every set was a must win for the Lions, and every time, Columbia rose to the challenge. The fourth set saw Dartmouth once again go up 8-5 early on, and this time, Columbia took longer to come back, not able to tie it up until 13-13. From there, a block by Fletcher and Brenton gave the Lions the lead, and they never looked back. That set saw kills from Brenton and Rumer, along with stellar blocking. It was two back to back blocks by the Lions that ended it, as a Heather Braunagel and Colleen Brennan notched one to make it 24-20, and then Fletcher and Brennan teamed up to end it with a block, taking set four, 25-20. 

With that, the Lions tied the overall match up at 2-2, forcing a fifth set from a battered Dartmouth squad. As was the tone for the earlier part of the match, the Big Green went up 8-5 on the Lions, and it looked like things were over for Columbia. But as the Lions had earlier, they rallied back. A kill from Braunagel made it 8-6, and a kill from Brennan made it 9-8 just three points later. A kill from Braunagel, followed by a kill from Gaughn tied it up, and Dartmouth and Columbia were locked up at 10-10. Dartmouth used a kill to go up 11-10, but Fletcher tied it up with a kill, 11-11. Again, Dartmouth took the lead 12-11, and again, Gaughn and Fletcher brought it back for the Lions, using a huge block to tie it up at 12. Dartmouth had an attack error on the next play, and Columbia took advantage of that, going up 14-13, with match point on the line. Sophomore Rumer ended it in Columbia’s favor, as she notched a kill to take the fifth set, 15-13, and the match, 3-2. 

Both Fletcher and Rumer had strong matches in the weekend after being named to the Ivy League honor roll, as Madeline Rumer had 14 kills hitting .481, with four digs and three total blocks, while Savannah Fletcher had 10 kills hitting .222 and led the team with six total blocks. Megan Gaughn led the Lions with 17 kills, and also had 16 digs and two blocks, while setter Colleen Brennan had another double double, with 48 assists and 17 digs, along with a service ace.  Charlee Dyroff led the defense with 24 digs, while first-year Caitlin Brenton had six kills, four digs and five total blocks, and senior Cindy Chen had 18 digs.

With the win, the Lions stand at 11-5 overall, and 5-1 in the Ivy League. Columbia will look to continue its three-match winning streak in Cambridge tomorrow, as the Lions will take on Harvard, Saturday, October 15 at 5 p.m. 

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