NEW YORK – The Columbia volleyball team couldn’t stop a late-surging Penn team in Philadelphia Friday night, as the Quakers came back from a 2-1 deficit to beat the Lions in a 3-2 thriller (30-28, 20-25, 20-25, 25-12, 15-9). With the loss, the Lions are now 15-9 overall and 9-4 in the Ivy League.
The two teams played closely throughout the night, a trend that started with the first set. Columbia battled back against three set points to stay in it, while Penn also kept the fight going. Penn was up 24-23, when Columbia used a kill from Caitlin Brenton to tie it up at 24. A kill from senior Cindy Chen gave the Lions set point, 25-24, but a Penn kill made it 25 all. From there, a block by the Quakers gave the Red and Blue set point again, 26-25, but a kill from junior Megan Gaughn evened the score and play continued. Brenton notched a kill to give the Lions the edge, 27-26, but again, Penn was there to tie it up. Another block gave the Quakers a 28-27 lead, but again, Brenton notched a timely kill to even the score. But Penn took advantage of a set point given to them by a Columbia attack error, and a Quaker kill ended the first set war, 30-28 in favor of the hosts.
In the second set, when the Lions took the lead, they didn’t give it back up. Tied up at 7-7, a Penn attack error gave Columbai the edge, 8-7, and a kill from Madeline Rumer made it 9-7. From ther,e the Lions went on a run, using a service ace from Rumer to widen the lead to 13-8. Though Penn kept it close, back-to-back kills from Gaughn ended it, 25-20 in favor of the Lions, and the match was tied up at one set apiece. Set three was more of a battle, as the stanza was tied up back and forth until 17-17, but the Columbia pulled away. A bad set by the Quakers opened the door, and junior Heather Braunagel pushed it open with a kill, putting the Lions up 19-17. A kill from Gaughn was followed by a block from Kelsey Musselman and Braunagel, and Columbia had a 22-17 lead. Penn scored three more points, but a kill from Braunagel ended it, 25-20, putting the Lions up 2-1 overall.
But the Quakers surged, and dealt the Lions two quick losses in the fourth and fifth sets to win the match. Penn took the fourth set 25-12, before beating Columbia 15-9 in the fifth. The Quakers won the match 3-2, handing Columbia its second straight loss.
Junior Heather Braunagel had 14 kills hitting .500, along with three blocks. Madeline Rumer led the squad with 16 kills in the loss, hitting .355, along with five digs and two blocks. First-year Caitlin Brenton had 12 kills hitting .346, while junior Megan Gaughn had 11 kills and 17 digs. Senior Cindy Chen added eight kills and 12 digs in the loss, while Colleen Brennan had 24 assists and nine digs, and junior Kelsey Musselman added 28 assists and eight digs. Sophomore Charlee Dyroff led the defense with 28 digs.
The Lions are now 15-9 overall and 9-4 in the Ivy League. Up next for Columbia is a battle with the Princeton Tigers on their home court in New Jersey, Saturday, November 12 at 5 p.m.