Volleyball Pulls Out Close Win Over Brown, 3-2
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars
NEW YORK - The Columbia volleyball team had its third Ivy League win of the season Friday, as the Lions came away with a close win over Brown in Providence, R.I. The Lions won by a slim margin in the fifth set, 3-2 (26-24, 22-25, 25-18, 20-25, 17-15). With the win, the Lions improved to 11-4 overall and 3-2 in the Ivy League.

Right from the start, the match was a close one. Though sophomore Megan Gaughn opened the match with a kill to put Columbia up 1-0, and a kill from junior Cindy Chen made it 2-0, Brown was able to stay in the game with two straight points to tie it up. From there, the two teams would stay close through the set. Brown took a lead 14-12 midway through, and stayed ahead for a couple points, but with the score at 16-14, Chen notched a kill, and a Brown attack error tie the first set at 16. Tied again at 23, the Lions took the lead back on a kill from first-year Madeline Rumer, and a solo block by Gaughn made it 23-22. Another kill from Rumer put the set in Columbia’s hands, 24-23, but Brown would manage to tie it once again at 24. A Brown service error gave the Lions set point again, and this time, Gaughn ended it with a kill, giving Columbia a 1-0 lead, 26-24.

The Bears retaliated in the second set, going up early, and staying there for the duration. Though Columbia would tie it at 3, and then again at 6-6, Brown stayed just ahead for the rest of the way. The Bears ended it on a kill and a service ace, taking set two, 25-22, and tying the match 1-1.

In the third set, it was Columbia who would get out of the gates early and stay there. With the score tied at 3-3, and first-year Colleen Brennan serving, the Lions served up four straight points, widening the gap to 7-3. Columbia dominated the second set, going up 19-13 at one point, and scoring four straight points to get to set point, 24-18. Once again, Brennan and Gaughn combined for a kill, and Columbia had the third set, 25-18, giving the Lions the overall advantage in the match, 25-18.

The fourth set saw the Lions with a chance to end it, and it seemed in the start that they would, as Brennan opened it with a kill to give Columbia an early 1-0 advantage. But much like the second set, Brown came out swinging, and scored six straight points to take a 6-1 lead. That gap was too wide for the Lions to overcome, as they never got closer than two points from the lead, and Brown took set four, 25-20, forcing it into a fifth.

The fifth set was where the match would be determined, and it seemed that Columbia was prepared to do that, as the Lions came out on fire, notching five straight points to go up 5-0, and then staying ahead, getting to 10-4. But Brown refused to go down without a fight, as the Bears outscored the Lions 6-1 on the next seven points, bringing the score to 12-11. From there, it was a sheer battle of wills, as the two teams tied it up at 12, again at 14, and then once more at 15. A Brown attack error gave the Lions a chance to end it, as they had a 16-15 advantage, and junior Megan Dillinger did just that, serving up an ace and ending the match. Columbia won the fifth set 17-15, and took the win, 3-2.

Gaughn was once again a powerhouse for the Lions, earning her eighth double-double of the season, with 17 kills and a season high 25 digs. The sophomore also notched four blocks, including two solo blocks. Junior Monique Roberts was also a top performer for Columbia, with 13 kills, hitting .407, and leading the Lions with six blocks.  Chen had 15 digs and eight kills in the match, while Rumer had nine kills and four blocks overall. First year Brennan had 46 assists in the win, while first-year libero Katherine Keller led the team with 23 digs.

Up next for the Lions is Ivy League rival Yale, whom Columbia will face Saturday, October 16 in New Haven, Conn., at 6 p.m.