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Columbia Spectator Staff

What appeared to have all the makings of a blowout turned horribly wrong for Columbia volleyball. Coming off a 3-2 loss to Cornell in which Columbia (10-4, 2-2 Ivy) came out flat the first two sets, the Lions jumped ahead immediately in Friday's match, defeating Harvard (5-11, 2-2 Ivy) in the first two sets 25-14, 25-19. The Lions lost the next set 25-19 but looked primed to end the match, taking an early 10-5 lead in the fourth set. Harvard rebounded, though, and after some dramatics, Columbia found its first match point with the score at 26-25. However, the Light Blue squandered this opportunity with a service error, and the score was tied again at 26-all. The Lions got a second chance at the match after sophomore Heather Braunagel had a kill to give the Light Blue a 28-27 lead. Columbia again failed to convert this opportunity. Then Columbia got its third match point opportunity following a kill by sophomore Megan Gaughn, but the Lions couldn't pull it out. They never received a fourth chance and eventually lost a heartbreaking fourth set 31-29. Following the tough fourth-set loss, the team failed to rebound and lost the fifth set, as well as the match, 15-12. The next day, coming off a deflating two consecutive 3-2 losses to Ivy rivals, Columbia easily could have folded against Dartmouth (12-3, 3-1 Ivy), the team with the best record in the Ancient Eight. Gaughn made sure that didn't happen. The sophomore recorded a career-high 26 kills and also had 15 digs to lead Columbia past Dartmouth in four sets. The top-ranked Columbia defense also stepped up, with five players—led by freshman libero Katherine Keller getting a game-high 27 digs—recording double figures in digs. With the doubleheader split, the Lions are now tied for fourth in the Ivy standings.