NEW YORK - The 2012 home season for the Columbia volleyball team started off strong as the Lions posted a 3-1 victory over Colgate in day one of the Columbia Invitational Friday night at Levien Gymnasium. The Lions came out on top after winning the first, second and fourth sets by scores of 25-18, 25-20, 25-19.

"It's nice to get off on the right foot," said Columbia head coach Jon Wilson. "They did a great job hanging in there with a very never-say-die team in Colgate. We're just thankful we blocked so well which took a lot of pressure off us. The crowd was great, kept us in it, kept us focused and we really appreciate the wonderful support."

The Lions started strong in the first set with four unanswered points and would not let up their lead the rest of the way to post an impressive 25-18 victory and take a 1-0 lead in the match.

The second set started off in Columbia's favor once again, but Colgate quickly tied things up at 3-3. The Lions would take charge for the remainder of the set en route to a 25-20 win. First-year Katarina Jovicic recorded six kills while committing only one error for a .714 hitting percentage in the set.

The Raiders would score first in the third set for their first lead of the night, but a kill by Megan Gaughn quickly tied things up, 1-1. With the score knotted again at 2-2, Colgate scored four consecutive points, forcing Columbia to call timeout.

Colgate would extend its lead to as many as six, but two consecutive kills from Gaughn and Atlanta Moye-McLaren would help bring the Lions within two, trailing 12-10.

A double-block by Gaughn and Savannah Fletcher brought the Lions within one point, trailing 15-14. On a roll, Moye-McLaren came through with a service ace to tie up the score, 15-all.

Columbia continued to surge, taking a 16-15 lead with another Fletcher block, but Colgate would even out the score and eventually take a two-point lead. With the Raiders leading 21-19, a block by Moye-McLaren set off a 3-0 Columbia run that would regain the Lions' lead, 22-21.

The teams would trade off service errors for the next points, but two straight kills from Michelle McCarthy would put the Raiders ahead, 24-23, forcing Columbia to call timeout.

A Fletcher kill ignited the Lions' home crowd and knotted the score yet again, 24-24, forcing the set to be decided by extra points. But the final two points of the match belonged to the Raiders as Colgate posted a nail biting 26-24 third set victory, forcing a fourth set.

Colgate took a quick 2-0 advantage in set four. Columbia evened the score on four occasions before a Jovicic kill kicked off a 6-0 run as the Lions pulled ahead, 14-9.

Colgate would score the next two, but four Columbia kills and a Raider error extended Columbia's lead, 19-11.

The Raiders responded with four straight points, quieted by a kill by Moye-McLaren. The Lions would lead the rest of the way, posting a 25-19 fourth set victory and a 3-1 match win.

Kovicic led the way for the Lions with a career-high 17 kills and a .583 hitting percentage.  Molly Winger recorded 19 digs on the night, while Braunagel led with seven blocks.

Overall, the Lions dominated with 28 blocks, compared to just five by the Raiders.