NEW YORK – The Columbia volleyball had a big win in Hanover, N.H., Saturday, as the Lions beat a Dartmouth team that had previously gone undefeated in the Ivy League, 3-1. Columbia improved to 10-4 overall and 2-2 in the Ivy League with the 25-20, 25-20, 22-25, 25-23 win.
Sophomore Megan Gaughn was outstanding in the win, with her seventh double-double of the season. She had a career-high 26 kills, and had 15 digs on defense. The 26 kills is also an Ivy League high in a single match this season, as is her 79 total kill attempts.
Appropriately, the match opened with a kill from Gaughn, assisted by first-year setter Colleen Brennan, giving Columbia an early 1-0 lead over the Big Green. Though Dartmouth tied it up on the next play, as would be the theme for the duration of the first set, Columbia answered with a kill, taking the lead again. Gaughn was the catalyst this time, and an ace by Brennan followed, and the Lions were up 3-1. But the lead wouldn’t hold. The two teams tied up at 3-3, and continued to go back and forth, until at 19-19, the Lions took the lead for good. A kill from first-year Alexandra Freschet put Columbia ahead 20-19, and Gaughn followed that will a kill, 21-19. Gaughn teamed up with sophomore Heather Braunagel for a huge block on the next play, and down 22-19, Dartmouth called a timeout. While the Big Green did score on the first point out of the break, a kill from Braunagel and a kill from Gaughn quickly followed, and Columbia took the first set, 25-20.
The second set began much in the same way the first did, with the two teams battling for every point, and trading the lead constantly. But with the score tied at 10-10, Columbia began to take control. A kill from first-year Madeline Rumer broke the tie, 11-10 in favor of the Lions, and a Dartmouth setting error and a kill from Gaughn made it 13-10, the biggest lead of the set so far. From there, Columbia stayed ahead of the Big Green with kills from Rumer, Braunagel, Freschet and Gaughn. At one point, a solo block by Braunagel gave the Lions a four point lead, 20-16. Four of the last seven points of the match were kills from Megan Gaughn, before a kill from Rumer ended it in favor of Columbia, 25-20.
Set three saw the two teams battle back and forth until the last few points of the match. Both teams had the lead at one point and the score was tied 11 times before one team pulled ahead for good. In set three, that team was the Big Green, using kills and a block, combined with Columbia attack errors, to stay in the match, taking set three, 25-22, and changing the overall match score to 2-1.
What would be the final set followed much of the same pattern of the first three, as the two teams locked in a battle that made it impossible to tell who would come out on top. Columbia took a 10-7 lead early on, and stayed ahead 12-9, but as was the case with the rest of the match, Dartmouth rallied back to tie it up at 19. Tied again at 20, 21 and 22, the fourth set was up for grabs. Columbia capitalized on a Dartmouth attack error to go up 23-22, and a kill from Monique Roberts put the win within reach, as the Lions went up 24-22. A Big Green timeout saw Dartmouth score once more after the break, making it 24-23, but Roberts came up huge for the Lions on the last play, blocking a Dartmouth attack, and scoring the match-winning point, 25-23. With that set under their belts, the Lions took the win, 3-1 over Dartmouth. With the loss, the Big Green fell to 12-2 overall and 2-1 in the Ivies.
Though Gaughn led the charge for Columbia, several Lions had outstanding performances in the win. Braunagel had seven kills, hitting .500, while Rumer had 12 kills. First-year Brennan and sophomore Kelsey Musselman both also had double-doubles, as Brennan had 31 assists with 13 digs and Musselman had 24 assists and 10 digs. First-year libero Katherine Keller had 27 digs, while junior Cindy Chen had seven kills and 19 digs.
Up next for the Lions is another Ivy League road trip, as Columbia will hit the road to head to Providence and New Haven, taking on Brown, Friday, October 15 at 7 p.m., and Yale, Saturday, October 16 at 6 p.m.