Columbia volleyball (9-8, 4-4 Ivy) started the second half of its season in dramatic fashion, edging out Cornell 3-2 with a fifth set needing extra points before the Lions could close out their 18-16 victory, along with one player reaching making Light Blue history.
The win was a major benchmark to start the second half of the season, as it placed the Lions at .500 in conference play.
The Lions took the first two sets, 25-22 and 25-19. In the third set, the Light Blue had almost wrapped up the match with a 20-18 lead before Cornell fought back to take the set. The Big Red then won the fourth set as well to force the fifth tiebreaking set.
“I felt that things were looking really good the first two sets,” senior captain Megan Gaughn said. “Then Cornell started playing a little better. In the fifth set, I thought we had a ton of energy. Every ball mattered, and there was so much yelling and excitement. It was so much fun. I don’t even know how to put it into words.”
In the deciding frame, sophomore Denise Dearman had two huge blocks to make the score 14-13, giving Columbia the lead and a chance to wrap up the match. Though Cornell scored three more points to make it interesting, two kills by Gaughn wrapped up the match to give the Light Blue its first away Ivy win of the season.
Beyond the team’s success, Gaughn reached a historic milestone as she became the first Lions volleyball player to accumulate more than 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in her four seasons. With her 16-kill, 18-dig game against the Big Red, Gaughn now has 1,170 kills and 1,007 digs for the Light Blue.
Despite reaching her own individual milestone, Gaughn is focused on her team’s goals.
“We’re looking forward to Yale,” she said. “We can still have the best record that Columbia has ever had. We can still beat Yale for the first time.”
The Light Blue hits the road again with two games this weekend. They play at Yale on Friday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. and then at Brown on Saturday at 5 p.m.