NEW YORK – After nearly a month on the road, the Columbia volleyball team is returning to Levien Gymnasium, fittingly for Homecoming weekend, as the Lions will host the top two teams in the Ivy League, Princeton and Penn. The Lions will take on the Tigers, Friday, October 22 at 4 p.m., before taking on defending champions Penn, Saturday, October 23 at 7 p.m.
Last Time Out
Columbia is coming off of another 1-1 weekend in Ivy League play. This past weekend, Columbia beat Brown, 3-2 on Friday, before falling to Yale, 3-1 on Saturday. Sophomore Megan Gaughn had strong performances in both games, with 17 kills and 25 digs against Brown, and nine kills and 13 digs against Yale. Junior Monique Roberts had 13 kills in the win over Brown, along with six total blocks, while sophomore Heather Braunagel led the Lions against Yale, with 13 kills and four blocks. Columbia now stands at 11-5 overall, and 3-3 in the Ivy League.
Scouting the Tigers
Princeton sits atop the league as of Thursday, with a perfect 5-0 Ivy League record, 10-6 overall. The Tigers are riding a six game winning streak, including 3-2 wins over Penn, Brown and Harvard, a 3-1 win over Yale, and a 3-0 sweep of Dartmouth this weekend.
The Tigers are led by sophomore Lydia Rudnick, who is tops in the Ivy League in kills per game, with a 4.32 average, and 246 total kills so far in the season. Princeton will also get help at the net from Jennifer Palmquist and Cathryn Quinn, both of whom are 125+ in kills this year. Michaela Venuti is the go to setter with 439 assists thus far, while Hillary Ford leads the team on D, with 215 digs. Quinn and Palmquist are also team leaders in blocks, with 43 and 46 respectively.
Scouting the Quakers
The defending Ivy League champions are currently 4-1 in the Ivy League, 8-9 overall, and riding a four game wining streak heading into this weekend. The Quakers’ lone loss came at the hands of Princeton, and though they may not be in the number one spot in team standings, they are number one in several individual categories in the Ivies.
Sophomore Amandao Pacheco leads the League in hitting percentage, as she has 148 kills, and a .342 attack percentage. First-year Susan Stuecheli is also hitting well, as she’s third in the league with a .318 hitting percentage. Penn also has a talented setter in senior Megan Tryon, who leads the Ancient Eight in assists, with a 10.38 assist per game average, including 623 total assists this year. Penn also has arguably the best libero in the league in Madi Wojciechowski, a senior who has a 5.67 digs per set average, and 340 total digs this year.
Leading the Lions
Columbia has its fair share of top honors in the League, and will plan on displaying that talent in Levien Gymnasium this weekend. The Lions lead the league in opponent hitting percentage (.138), blocks (2.42 blocks per set, 150 total, 46 solo), and are second in the league in service aces as a team.
Roberts is second in the league in hitting percentage, at .328, while Gaughn is third in the league in kills per set, at 3.82. First-year Savannah Fletcher and Roberts are one and two in the league in blocks, with 1.22 and 1.14 blocks per set averages, including 10 solo blocks apiece.
Columbia will be home for the second weekend in a row, Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30. Friday, the Lions will host Dartmouth at 7 p.m., while Saturday will see Columbia take on Harvard at 5 p.m.