NEW YORK - The Columbia volleyball team made program history once again Saturday, as the Lions beat Princeton, 3-1 (29-27, 25-21, 20-25, 25-22), marking the first time ever Columbia has swept the Tigers. With the historic win, the Lions improved to 15-8 overall, and 7-5 in the Ivy League.
The Lions and the Tigers were evenly matched right from the start, as the first set saw Heather Braunagel open the set with a kill, and Princeton answer with a block. From there, the two teams battled back and forth. Columbia had a chance to win it up 24-22 on a kill from sophomore Megan Gaughn, but Princeton fought back and tied it up, before taking the lead, 25-24. A kill from junior Monique Roberts tied it up once again at 25, but Princeton took the lead once more. The next time, it was Gaughn who would keep the Lions in it, tying it up at 26 with a kill. Princeton once again took the lead, 27-26, but a kill from Cindy Chen tied it up at 27. A block from Madeline Rumer and Christina Campbell put the Lions up, 28-27, and a kill on the next point from Campbell ended it, 29-27, in favor of the Lions.
The second set of the night followed much of the same pattern, as the two teams battled back and forth. But at 9-9, Columbia started to take a more significant lead. Back to back kills from Gaughn made it 11-9, and another kill from made it 14-11. The Lions used kills from Monique Roberts and Erin Longinotti to hold the Tigers off, and up 17-13, Columbia forced Princeton to call a timeout. From there, however, there wasn't much the Tigers could do. Gaughn added two more kills, Campbell added one of her own, and Rumer had one as well, while Colleen Brennan added a service ace to give the Lions set point, 24-18. Though Princeton would score three more times facing set point, Columbia came out on top with a kill from Roberts, taking set two, 25-21, and going up 2-0 over Princeton on their home court.
Set three saw Columbia come out swinging, going up 6-0. Rumer opened it with two straight service aces, and Braunagel and Brennan blocked on two straight point to go up, 4-0. A Princeton attack error, followed by a block by Gaughn and Braunagel put Columbia up 6-0, once of their widest leads of the night. But the Tigers came roaring back, slowing chipping away at the Lions' lead. A kill from Campbell gave Columbia a 14-11 lead, but Princeton would come back from behind to tie it at 14, and from there, the Tigers took over. Though Columbia would hang with the Tigers and tie it up at 17, Princeton had the momentum, and took the set 25-20, staying in the match, 2-1.
The fourth set matched the pace of the first two, as the two teams were close from the start. But after it was tied, 2-2, Columbia took the lead on a kill from Roberts. From there, Roberts had another kill, and the Lions were up, 4-2. Columbia would increase its lead, with a kill from Longinotti and back-to-back kills from Rumer. A block by Brennan and Rumer made it 11-5, and a frustrated Princeton team called a timeout. But from there, Columbia's lead would only widen. A kill from Gaughn made it 16-10, and a kill from Campbell made it 17-12. Campbell added two more straight kills to make it 19-13, and once again, Princeton called a timeout. From there, it was just a matter of time. Though the Tigers would manage to keep it close facing match point, it ended with a kill from Roberts, Columbia up 25-22, taking the match, 3-1.
Once again, Columbia had a number of outstanding performances across the board. Gaughn and Campbell led the team on offense, with 15 kills each. Gaughn added 13 digs for yet another double-double this season. Rumer had 11 kills (hitting .348) and two service aces, while Roberts had 10 kills, hitting. 450. Chen had 20 digs on defense, while first year Katherine Keller led the squad with 25 digs. Brenan had 50 assists, seven digs, two service aces and five block assists in the win for one of the strongest all around performances.
Up next for the Lions are the last two matches of the season, as league-leading Yale and Brown come to Levien Gymnasium, Friday, November 12 and Saturday, November 13.