NEW YORK - The Columbia volleyball team suffered a loss at the hands of the Yale Bulldogs in New Haven, Conn., Saturday, despite a rally in the third set, 3-1 (25-17, 25-12, 25-27, 25-23). Sophomore Heather Braunagel led the Lions with 13 kills in the loss, which put Columbia at 11-5 overall and 3-3 in the Ivy League.
Yale had three players with double digit kills, and they got started right in the first set. Though Columbia opened with a kill from sophomore Megan Gaughn, Yale answered with four straight kills of its own, going up 3-1 on the Lions. From there, the Bulldogs would stay on top, with a two or three point lead for the duration of the set. Later in the set, the Bulldogs widened the lead to 19-13, and though Columbia would score four more points, it was enough of a head start for Yale to seal the win, 25-17, and take the first set.
Set two opened with an error for the Lions, and it would be a bit of a theme early on. A bad set and attack errors let the Bulldogs go up 7-1, and Columbia couldn’t recover from the setback. Yale continued to capitalize on Columbia errors and notch more kills of their own, going on an 11 point run, ending with the Bulldogs holding set point, 24-8. But Columbia wouldn’t go down without a fight, as the Lions used kills from Braunagel, junior Monique Roberts and sophomore Erin Longinotti to stay in the match before Yale ended it on a kill, taking the win 25-12.
That fighting spirit carried over into the third set, as facing elimination, the Lions started to come to live. Roberts opened the set with a kill, and added one more to make it 2-2. Yale took a lead once again, 7-2, but it wasn’t as solid as those in the past. First-year Colleen Brenan and Braunagel notched a block, and a kill from Roberts tied it up at 9-9. The two teams stayed close, but then Columbia was able to take the lead, capitalizing on Yale attack errors and getting a kill from Megan Dillinger and a block from Roberts to go up 15-11. The two teams stayed close, however, and Yale took the lead back at 20-18 and again at 22-20. Columbia would come back with a block from Braunagel and first-year Christina Campbell, and a kill from Campbell tied it up at 24-24. Yale came back and took the lead 25-24, but a kill from Braunagel tied it up once again. A Yale attack error handed the Lions set point, and they didn’t waste the chance, as Gaughn notched the winning kill, 27-25, keeping Columbia in the match, 2-1.
Set four was just as close as set three, as the two teams stayed close and changed leads several times. But later in the set, it seemed like Yale was the team that would go ahead by one each time. And with the score tied at 21, that’s just what they did. Up 23-21, Yale saw the Lions score twice more on kills form Gaughn and Roberts, but it wasn’t enough, as the Bulldogs had three kills of their own, taking the set 25-23, and the match, 3-1.
Braunagel led the Lions with 13 kills and four blocks. Roberts added ten kills and three blocks, while Gaughn had nine kills and 13 digs, one kill away from her ninth double-double. Campbell also did well with five kills and a block. Brennan paced the team at setter with 37 assists and 11 digs for the double-double, and Katherine Keller was clutch defense for the Lions, with 28 digs.
Up next for the Lions is a return to Levien Gymnasium for the first time in almost a month, as Columbia will host the two top teams in the Ivy League. Friday, October 22, Columbia will take on Princeton at 4 p.m., before hosting defending championship Penn, Saturday, October 23 at 7 p.m.