FAIRFIELD, CONN. – In a mid-week, non conference matchup Tuesday, the Columbia volleyball team dropped a match to Sacred Heart, 3-1 (25-19, 21-25, 25-15, 25-18). With the loss, the team now stands at 14-7 overall, while Sacred Heart improved to 25-4.
The Pioneers were riding a school-record 19 match win streak into Tuesday night’s showdown, and Sacred Heart showed why they had such a strong record right from the get-go. The Pioneers had a kill on the first play, and followed that up with two more, going up 4-0 on the Lions early on. A service error by Sacred Heart got Columbia on the board, but the Pioneers would stay up for the duration of the set, taking the first set, 25-19.
The second set saw Columbia find its fighting spirit, as the Lions stayed with the Pioneers, point for point early on. Tied up at three, Columbia took the lead on a Sacred Heart service error. But that was all the Lions would need. Senior Martina Kajanova had a service ace on the next play, and a block by Heather Braunagel and Alexandra Freschet made it 6-3. Junior Cindy Chen had a kill, and Kajanova had another service ace, giving the Lions an 8-3 lead. That was enough of a boost for Columbia, and the Lions played well through the duration of the second set. Though Sacred Heart rallied towards the end of the set to bring it to 23-21, a kill from Gaughn and a block by Erin Longinotti ended it, 25-21, tying it up at one set apiece. The Pioneers had won 28 straight sets prior to that loss, so Columbia had Sacred Heart on its heels heading into the third set.
But Sacred Heart came out swinging in the third set, going up quickly on the Lions, 8-3. From there, Columbia struggled to regain its footing, as Sacred Heart took set three, 25-15, going up 2-1. Set four saw the two teams locked in more of a battle, as the Lions and the Pioneers stayed close throughout, tied up at 12. But a kill from Sacred Heart gave them the lead 13-12, and from there, Sacred Heart scored three straight, going up 15-12. Columbia stayed in it, fighting for each point, but in the end, it was the Pioneers who would come out on top, taking the fourth set, 25-18, and the match, 3-1.
Sophomore Megan Gaughn led the team with eight kills, while Monique Roberts, Cindy Chen and Christina Campbell had four each. First-year Katherine Keller led the team defensively with 11 digs, while Nicole Goldhaber and Gaughn had nine apiece.
Up next for the Lions is an Ivy League weekend on the road. Columbia will head south to Philadelphia, to take on Penn, Friday, November 5, before traveling to Princeton for a 4 p.m. match against the Tigers, Saturday, November 6.