Volleyball Closes out 2010 Hosting Yale, Brown

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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics

NEW YORK – The Columbia volleyball team closes up the 2010 season at home this weekend, as the Lions will host first place Yale, Friday, November 12 at 7 p.m., and Brown, Saturday, November 13 at 5 p.m., when the team will honor senior captain Martina Kajanova.

Scouting the Bulldogs

Yale has been on a good run in recent weeks, as the Bulldogs beat both Penn and Princeton, to take sole possession of first place in the Ivy League. They are 10-2 in the Ivy League, and 16-7 overall. Penn is still right on Yale’s heels, however, as the Quakers are 9-2, having played one fewer match.

The match between Columbia and Yale could be quite a battle, as the Lions will be looking to play spoilers once again. Last weekend, Columbia beat Princeton, forcing them out of first place for good, and nearly beat Penn the following night. And if anyone can take down Yale, it would be the Lions. The two teams rank Nos.1 and 2 in nearly every statistical category in the League. Yale is the top team in hitting percentage (.241) and opponent hitting percentage (.161), but Columbia is right behind them in both categories (.241 hitting percentage; .162 opponent hitting percentage). Yale leads the league in assists, digs and kills, but Columbia is the top team in blocks, and has an advantage in service aces.

Last time the two teams faced off, Yale won, 3-1, but Columbia will be looking to change that this time around.

Scouting the Bears

Brown has struggled this season, as the Bears are currently tied for last place in the league with Cornell, as both teams have a 2-10 league record. But Brown is 8-16 overall, and last time, they took the Lions to a fifth set before falling, 3-2. And the Bears are coming off of a huge win over Dartmouth, 3-1 last weekend, so this game could be a tough one for Columbia.

Brown has one of the top servers in the league in Annika Gliottone, who leads the Ivies in service aces. The Bears have five different players who are a threat at the net, as Emma Pastore leads the team with 225 kills, but four other players are in the 100+ kills range.

Leading the Lions

Columbia has had outstanding performances from mutiple team members in recent weeks. Sophomore Megan Gaughn still leads the Lions in kills, with 334 this season, or 3.71 kills per set. But Madeline Rumer (202), Cindy Chen (142), Monique Roberts (131) and Heather Braunagel (103) are all threats for Columbia. Roberts has one of the best attack percentages in the Ivy League, as she’s hitting .349 for the season. Roberts is also on top of the league in blocks, as first-year Savannah Fletcher leads the league in blocks per set (1.13), while Roberts is just behind her in second, with 1.08 blocks per set, and 57 total blocks, including 13 solo. First-year Katherine Keller has been outstanding in the libero position for Columbia, as she has a team high 406 digs, and classmate Colleen Brennan has been a stalwart in the setter position, with 678 assists, along with 182 digs.

Congrats Class of 2011!

On Saturday, the Lions will honor their lone senior, co-captain Martina Kajanova ‘11BC, who has played all four seasons for the Lions, and been a continuous presence on the court, and a guiding force for the team off the court. Kajanova will be honored before the game with a short presentation.

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