It was a historic weekend for the Columbia volleyball team (12-9, 7-5 Ivy) as it recorded its first-ever weekend-away sweep with wins over Harvard and Dartmouth, setting three program records along the way.
“It’s towards the end of the season and we’re still getting better,” senior Heather Braunagel said. “Coach told us after the game that the Dartmouth coach came up to him and asked, ‘How are you doing this? What do they have to play for?’ He responded, ‘Are you kidding? They always have something to play for.’”
Going into the weekend, the senior class had never beaten the Crimson at their gym. The trend finally reversed itself, as the Light Blue pulled out a 3-1 win.
“We had to come from behind. It could have gone to five games,” Braunagel said. “I’m really happy we were able to able to win in four.”
In the decisive fourth set, the Lions were neck and neck with the Crimson. Tied at 25-25, the Lions had run out of substitutions, forcing defensive specialist sophomore Molly Winger to play in the front row.
“Molly told me, ‘Heather, I’m not going to block,’” Braunagel said. “She was in the front row. She knew where to go, played off blocker defense, got a ball up off a block.”
Even with the mismatch in the front row, the team came through to clinch the set, 28-26, capping the win.
The Lions then traveled to Andover for a rematch with Dartmouth, where they secured the record-setting weekend sweep with the 3-0 win over the Big Green. This was also the first time that the Lions have beaten another team 3-0 both at home and away in the same season.
The Light Blue crushed Dartmouth in the first set, 25-12. Dartmouth failed to find a way to come back, as it fell behind early in the second and third sets, never gaining a lead. Columbia senior Megan Gaughn finished the weekend with a team-high 35 kills ,while junior Charlee Dyroff led the defense with 28 digs.
Although Yale officially clinched its third straight Ivy League title with victories over Penn and Princeton this weekend, the Lions have a chance to move into third place, with two home matches left against Penn and Princeton. They will look to extend their three-game winning streak into the upcoming final week of Ivy League play.