NEW YORK - Columbia volleyball opened Ivy League action with a 3-0 sweep over Cornell Saturday afternoon at Levien Gymnasium. The Lions defeated the Big Red by scores of 25-19, 25-15, 25-22.
With the victory, Columbia (6-4, 1-0) won its fourth straight match, remained a perfect 4-0 on its home court and earned its third consecutive victory over the Big Red. Cornell fell to 2-8 on the season and 0-1 in Ivy League play.
Columbia reeled off five unanswered points in the first set to take a commanding early lead that would that would help carry the Lions to victory. Trailing by three was the closest Cornell would come with throughout the set, reaching 20-17 score after two kills by the Big Red.
The Lions led by as much as seven after two consecutive kills by Heather Braunagel and one by Megan Gaughn to set the score at 24-17. Breanna Wong came back with two straight kills for the Big Red to keep their hopes alive, but a bad set by Ana Vanjak would give the Lions the final point they needed for the first set win.
In the second set, Cornell scored first and quickly built a 3-0 lead over the Lions. Columbia fought back, and a back-and-forth game ensued. The score was tied five times before the Lions took over once and for all.
With the score knotted at 9-9, Columbia went on a 3-0 run sparked by a kill by Gaughn. The Lions outscored the Big Red 11-5 throughout the remainder of the set to finish off the victory in dominating fashion.
The third set began with another back-and-forth battle with the scored tied up on eight occasions. With the score at 10-all, Cornell went ahead, 11-10, after two straight kills by Janel Forte as part of a 4-0 Big Red run, forcing Columbia to call timeout.
Cornell held onto the lead for the next several points, but Columbia still had fight left. Two consecutive Gaughn kills tied the score at 18-18 and a Cornell attack error gave the Lions a 19-18 lead. Cornell would tie things up one last time at 20-20, but three straight Big Red errors would put the Lions ahead by three, forcing a Cornell timeout.
The Big Red scored twice in a row, but two kills by the Lions finished off the set and helped the Lions to victory.
Denise Dearman paced Columbia's offense with eight kills while committing only one error for a .636 hitting percentage. Braunagel was also a key factor for the Lions with seven kills and a .667 hitting percentage.
Molly Winger led the Lions with 12 digs, while Katarina Jovicic had five blocks on the day.
The Lions continue Ivy League action at home vs. Brown on September 28 for a 7 p.m. match at Levien Gymnasium.