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Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Mike McLaughlin

Volleyball Looks to Continue Winning Streak on the Road at Dartmouth, Harvard

Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics
          Release: 10/13/2011
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NEW YORK - The Columbia volleyball team will look to continue its winning ways on the road, as the 4-1 Lions will travel to New Hampshire and Massachusetts, to take on Dartmouth, Friday, October 14 at 7 p.m., and Harvard, Saturday, October 15 at 5 p.m.

Follow Live
Dartmouth and Harvard will both have video and live stats of the Columbia match, available at the links below.  The Dartmouth video will be free for SideLion pass users. Links are active at game start time.

Harvard: Video  Live Stats

Dartmouth: Video Live Stats 

Last Time Out 
Columbia is coming off of a huge weekend at home, as the Lions swept Ivy League opponents Princeton and Penn. Friday night, the Lions handed Princeton its first Ivy League loss of the season, as Columbia dominated the Tigers, winning 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-19). The next night, Columbia took on defending Ivy League champions Penn, who were 2-2 in the Ivy League coming into the matchup. Columbia stayed tough to win a five set thriller, 3-2 (29-27, 21-25, 25-20, 19-25, 15-13). It was the first win over the Quakers for Columbia volleyball since 2005, and the first under head coach Jon Wilson. With the sweep, the Lions improved to second place in the Ivy League, tied with Princeton and one game behind Yale. 

Ivy League Honorees
That big weekend turned into big honors for the Lions, as first-year Caitlin Brenton was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week, it was announced by the Ivy League office Tuesday. Sophomores Savannah Fletcher and Madeline Rumer were both named to the weekly Honor Roll for their contributions last weekend. 

Brenton (San Jose, Calif.) had one of her best weekends wearing a Lion uniform thus far, hitting a stellar .487 and compiling nine total blocks in leading the Lions to a home sweep of Princeton and Penn.The first-year outside hitter started the weekend tying her collegiate career high with eight kills and hitting .571 in Columbia's win over Princeton. The next night against Penn, she set a new high with 12 kills, hitting .440 in the five-set win over the Quakers. She also had five blocks, her second highest total of the season. Brenton becomes the second Lion in school history to be named Ivy League Rookie of the Week. Junior Megan Gaughn was the first player to earn the honor in 2009.

Fletcher made the honor roll after hitting .462 in two matches, including five total blocks and a 2.40 kills per set average. Rumer hit .396 in the two wins, with a 4.17 kills per set average, including a service ace and two total blocks. 

Leading the Lions 
Columbia has seen stellar play across the court this season, and that's reflected in the team stats. One area in particular that the Lions have led the Ivy League is blocking, as Columbia is ranked first in the League and 47th in the nation in blocking, with a 2.47 blocks per set average. Columbia has a strong core of middle blockers, led by Fletcher, who leads the team and the Ivy League with a 1.30 blocks per set average. Senior Monique Roberts is third overall in the Ivy League with a 1.12 blocks per set average, and leads the Lions with 47 total blocks overall, including 17 solo. Fletcher has 39 total blocks, including 12 solos, while Brenton has 32 total blocks, Heather Braunagel had 30 total blocks, and Rumer has 29 total blocks. 

The Lions also have three team members in the top of the Ivy League when it comes to hitting percentage. Fletcher leads the league with a .400 hitting percentage, while Rumer is fourth, hitting .333 this season, and Roberts sits in fifth, with a .309 hitting percentage. Gaughn leads the team in kills, as the junior has 183 so far this season, for a 3.33 kills per set average, the fourth highest in the Ivy League. Rumer is next on the team with 107 total kills (2.28 kills per set), followed by Roberts (93 kills) and senior Cindy Chen (87 kills). The hitters have gotten solid passes from two of Columbia's setters splitting time. Sophomore Colleen Brennan has been the go-to, as she has 388 assists this season, a 7.19 assists per set average, while junior Kelsey Musselman has also been a consistent passer, with 190 assists, for a 4.52 assists per set average. 

Defensively, Columbia averages 16.68 digs per set, which is good for 42nd in the nation. Sophomore Charlee Dyroff leads the charge with 259 total digs (4.80 digs per set), followed by Chen (194 digs) and Gaughn (151 digs). 

Ivy League Standings (As of Oct. 13)
1. Yale (5-0 Ivy League, 11-4 overall)
2. Columbia (4-1 Ivy League, 10-5 overall)
Princeton (4-1 Ivy League, 11-6 overall)
4. Dartmouth (2-3 Ivy League, 10-6 overall)
Harvard (2-3 Ivy League, 9-6 overall)
Penn (2-3 Ivy League, 6-9 overall)
7. Brown (1-4 Ivy League, 5-11 overall)
8. Cornell (0-5 Ivy League, 3-14) 

Scouting the Big Green 
Dartmouth sits at 10-6 overall, 2-3 Ivy League, tied for fourth place with Harvard and Penn. The Big Green are a threat, as they lost to Princeton in five sets, beat Harvard in five sets, and swept Brown, 3-0. They have the second highest hitting percentage in the league, at .229, behind league-leading Yale. 

Madeline Baird and Annie Villanueva return as the teams top two attackers, with 203 and 158 kills respectively.  Both earned Ivy League Player of the Week honors in September, and have helped make the Big Green a threat throughout the Ivy League season. 

In 2010, Columbia swept Dartmouth, taking a 3-1 win in Hanover, N.H., and beating the Big Green 3-0 at home in late October. 

Scouting the Crimson 
Harvard is 9-6 overall, 2-3 Ivy League, with an inconsistent pattern of wins. Though the Crimson has lost to Princeton, Yale and Dartmouth, Harvard has notched wins over Penn and Brown. 

Libero Christine Wu is the go-to on defense for Harvard, ranking second in the Ivy League and 13th nationally with 5.42 digs per set. Wu is Harvard's all-time leader in digs (1,643) and needs just 85 more to move into fourth place in Ivy League history. Junior Taylor Docter leads the team in kills with 178 total, and a 2.97 kills per set average. Second on the team is first-year Kristen Casey, who has 162 kills so far this year. 

In 2010, the two teams split, as the Lions dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker in Cambridge, before rallying back to win 3-2 at home in Levien Gymnasium in late October. 

Up Next 
The Lions return home to Levien Gymnasium for a six-match homestretch that includes some of the tougher teams in the Ivy League. First up for Columbia is Ivy League rival Cornell, who will come to New York City, Saturday, October 22 for a 5 p.m. matchup. 
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