Despite a strong start to the weekend with a 3-0 win over William & Mary, the volleyball team (2-7) dropped matches against Virginia and Seton Hall to finish 1-2 at the Cavalier Classic in Charlottesville, Va.
The Light Blue was looking to gain some confidence after just one nonconference win at home in its three games at the Columbia Invitational. The Lions did just that against William & Mary, getting off to a strong start and finding ways to finish off games.
Sophomore Bailey Springer sparked the offense in the first set with two kills, getting the Lions off to a 4-1 lead. Springer and senior Savannah Fletcher helped the Lions pull away from 17-17 with two kills each to close out the first set 25-19.
The Lions continued to press and were rewarded with 25-18 and 25-15 wins to close out the match. The team played well overall, going on long service runs and finding ways to put the ball away for kills. On the offensive end, the Light Blue finished with an impressive team .327 hitting average with no players having a negative hitting percentage.
But the second day of play was tougher for the Lions, as they dropped both of their matches. They went toe-to-toe with Virginia, but could not find ways to close out their sets.
The game was tied at 23 toward the end of the first set, but the Cavaliers hit two kills and jumped out to a 1-0 set lead. In the second, Columbia found itself in a similar position, tied at 21, but two Light Blue hitting errors and two Virginia kills gave the Cavaliers a 2-0 lead.
Columbia fought back in the third set, winning 26-24 and forcing a fourth set. Head coach Jon Wilson made an adjustment to the lineup, putting sophomore Alex Reale in for freshman Jennifer Petrovich in the front row. But this wasn’t enough to stop the Cavalier hitters, including Tori Janowski, who had a match-high 18 kills. She’s ranked 18th in the nation in kills per set.
In the final game of the weekend, the Lions jumped out to a 2-0 set lead over Seton Hall. But they found themselves unable to stem Seton Hall’s comeback attempts as it posted wins of 25-19, 25-17, and 15-11 to seal the match.
Leading the way for the Lions at the net was Fletcher, who was named to the All-Tournament Team after tallying 27 kills and nine blocks over the weekend.
The return of sophomore Katarina Jovicic also gave a boost to the Light Blue. She provided a significant presence at the net and contributed offensively with 18 kills over the weekend.
The Lions will head to Cornell to kick off the Ivy season on Sept. 28 at 2 p.m.