NEW YORK – The Columbia volleyball team heads to the Ocean State this weekend to compete in the Art Carmichael Invitational. The Lions are scheduled to play Marist, Northeastern and host Rhode Island in the two-day tournament held at Keaney Gymnasium.
Fans can follow all three of Columbia’s matches this weekend with live stats courtesy of GoRhody.com. Final box scores and daily recaps will be posted to GoColumbiaLions.com.
Columbia started the season by posting a 1-2 record at last weekend’s Service Academy Challenge in Washington, D.C. The Lions opened up 2017 with a five-set victory over Air Force (25-23, 12-25, 18-25, 26-24, 15-5), winning the fourth and fifth sets after going behind 2-1. Columbia hit .364 in the final frame to earn the victory and never trailed in the race to 15, using a 6-0 run to gain a 9-2 advantage. Sophomore libero Kalie Wood was impressive with career-highs in digs (18) and aces (4). Junior Luciana Del Valle led the attack with 14 kills and sophomore Chichi Ikwuazom hit .500 with 11 kills.
PICKING UP WHERE SHE LEFT OFF
Reigning Ivy League Co-Rookie of the Year and First Team All-Ivy League selection Chichi Ikwuazom ranks No. 17 nationally in hitting percentage at .463 heading into the weekend. Last season, as a rookie, Ikwuazom hit .427 to finish the season No. 4 in the NCAA. Her highest hitting percentage so far this season came against Georgetown, knocking down six kills on nine attempts with no errors (.667).
ACING THE COMPETITION
Columbia ranks No. 5 nationally and is tops in the Ivy League in aces per set (2.15) heading into the Art Carmichael Invitational. Sophomore Kalie Wood leads the team with seven (0.54/set), which is also among the top-50 nationally per set. Sophomore Grace Campbell ranks just outside the top-100 nationally at 0.44 per set.
The entire first-year class of Audrey Cheng, Jamie Dailey, Kaitlin Schultz and Madelyn Ward made their Columbia debuts at the Service Academy Challenge. All four posted season-highs in Saturday’s five-setter against The Citadel – Cheng tallied a season-high 23 assists, Dailey had 12 kills and three blocks, Schultz had five kills and four blocks, while Ward had four kills and three digs. Dailey ranks third on the team in kills (24), kills per set (2.00) and total points (30.0). Cheng ranks second in assists (41) and assists per set (5.86). Schultz leads the Lions in total blocks (10) and blocks per set (0.77).
Kills – Luciana Del Valle (31, 2.82/set)
Hitting Pct. – Chichi Ikwuazom (.463)
Assists – Grace Campbell (65, 7.22/set)
Digs – Kalie Wood (40, 3.08/set)
Aces – Kalie Wood (7, 0.54/set)
Blocks – Kaitlin Schultz (10, 0.77/set)
Points – Luciana Del Valle (36.5, 3.32/set)
Marist (3-3) hosted the Volley in the Valley last weekend and went 1-2. The Red Foxes began the tournament by defeating Binghamton in five sets, but dropped its Saturday doubleheader to Cleveland State and Army West Point. Nikki DeSerpa leads the attack with 64 kills (2.91/set), just ahead of Kelsey Ediger’s 63 (2.86/set). Ashton Korona and Stephanie Stone head the block with 21 apiece already and average 1.00 or more per set. As a team, Marist ranks No. 75 nationally in blocks per set (2.30).
Northeastern (1-5) suffered losses to Pepperdine, Weber State and Cal State Northridge last weekend at the Pepperdine/CSUN Challenge. The week prior, the Huskies fell to Temple and Maryland at the Maryland Invite before escaping the tournament with their lone victory of the season in four sets over UMBC. Gabrielle Eyl ranks among the top-25 nationally in total digs (134) and digs per set (5.83). The Huskies are hitting just .100 on the season, which ranks 300th nationally.
ABOUT RHODE ISLAND
Rhode Island (2-4) went 2-1 last weekend at the Yale Invitational. The Rams picked up a four-set victory over Clemson and a three-set sweep of Delaware, but came up on the losing end to host Yale in four. The victory over Clemson was the team’s first of the year and the first for new head coach Steve Santonastaso. It marked the first time URI defeated a current member of the ACC since Boston College in 2008. Marie Gillcrist and Lauren Pick are forces on the block, with Gillcrist ranking No. 53 nationally at 1.35 pet set. She also ranks among the top-100 nationally in total blocks with 27. The Rams rank among the top-75 in team blocking.