NEW YORK — Fresh off a thrilling five-set victory over two-time defending champion Princeton, the Columbia volleyball team begins the second half of the Ivy League schedule when it hosts Cornell on Saturday. First serve is slated for 2 p.m. at Levien Gymnasium.
Fans who are unable to attend the match can watch the Lions on the Ivy League Network. Live stats will also be available courtesy of GoColumbiaLions.com. Fans can also follow the match on Twitter by following @CUVB.
The Lions (6-10, 1-6 Ivy) went five sets in both of last weekend’s matches, falling on Friday to Penn but bouncing back in a big way with their first win over Princeton since 2012 on Saturday (25-20, 17-25, 25-23, 13-25, 15-8). Columbia hit .750 with nine kills in the final set to defeat the Tigers. Sophomore Chichi Ikwuazom led the Lions to victory by hitting .625 with a season-high 17 kills and match-high nine blocks. Ikwuazom posted six of her blocks in the third set to help the Lions go up 2-1, and was a perfect 3-for-3 on the attack in the final set to help seal Columbia’s first league win of the season. The victory put an end to Princeton’s seven-game series winning streak. The Lions nearly pulled off a five-set victory on Friday over Penn, but dropped a close final set by a score of 15-13.
CHENG NAMED ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
First-year setter Audrey Cheng was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for the first time on Monday. Cheng, a setter, totaled 92 assists, 17 digs and five blocks in matches against Penn and Princeton. Friday against Penn, the Superior, Colorado, native picked up her third double-double of the campaign by tallying 11 digs to go with a season-high 48 assists. Saturday, the rookie went for 44 assists against the Tigers, which included eight assists in the final set to help Columbia hit .750 with nine kills. She averaged 9.2 assists per set on the weekend and is the second Lion this season to earn Rookie of the Week honors, joining outside hitter Jamie Dailey.
ACING THE COMPETITION
Columbia has ranked among the top-10 nationally in aces per set all season long and enters the weekend at No. 10 in the NCAA statistical rankings (1.76). The Lions have gone for 10 or more aces in four matches, including a season-high 13 aces on opening weekend against The Citadel (Sept. 2). Columbia posted double-digit aces for the first time in Ivy League play with 10 last Friday against Penn. Sophomore libero Kalie Wood had five aces against the Quakers and has taken over the team lead with 23 on the campaign. Wood also ranks among the top-100 nationally in aces per set (0.37), a mark which ranks No. 2 in the Ivy League.
CHICHI LEADING THE WAY
Sophomore middle Chichi Ikwuazom sits atop the Ivy League in hitting percentage at .402 entering the week. The reigning Ivy League Co-Rookie of the Year is hitting .451 over her last three matches, which includes her best performance of the season in Saturday’s victory over Princeton. Ikwuazom had a season-high 17 kills and hit .625 against the Tigers, all while also adding a match-high nine blocks. The New York native is now fourth in the Ivy League in blocks per set (1.13), which places just inside the top-100 nationally. In Ivy League play, Ikwuazom leads all competitors with 1.30 blocks per set.
Columbia has won six of its last seven and 12 of its last 14 matches at Levien Gymnasium. The Lions are 3-1 this season at home, including a victory over two-time defending Ivy League champion Princeton. Last season, the Lions went 11-3 at home, which included a 6-1 mark in Ivy League play.
Total Kills – Anja Malesevic (148, 3.29/set)
Hitting Pct. – Chichi Ikwuazom (.402)
Total Assists – Audrey Cheng (315, 7.33/set)
Total Digs – Kalie Wood (231, 3.73/set)
Total Aces – Kalie Wood (23, 0.37set)
Total Blocks – Chichi Ikwuazom (60, 1.13/set)
Total Points – Anja Malesevic (171.0, 3.80/set)
Week 3 (Sep. 11-17)
- Honor Roll: Chichi Ikwuazom
Week 6 (Oct. 2-8)
- Honor Roll: Audrey Cheng
Cornell (8-8, 4-3 Ivy) sits alone in fourth in the Ivy League standings, two games behind league-leading Yale (6-1 Ivy). The Big Red earned a victory over the Lions in a close four-set match to begin conference play on September 23 in Ithaca (27-25, 24-26, 25-19, 25-18). Senior Emily Wemhoff led Cornell to victory by hitting .405 with a career-high 23 kills. The Big Red dropped three of their next four league matches, but turned it all around last weekend by defeating both Princeton and Penn in four sets. Senior libero Kiley McPeek was named Ivy League Player of the Week after averaging 7.38 digs per set, which included a 35-dig effort in Friday’s victory over the Tigers. Sophomore Jenna Phelps leads the league in aces and blocks, averaging 0.57 aces per set and 1.25 blocks per set. Phelps had four aces and seven blocks against the Lions in September. As a team, Cornell heads the Ivy League in digs (17.56/set) and is right behind Princeton for the league-lead in kills (13.90/set). Ivy League opponents are hitting a league-worst .181 against the Big Red.
INSIDE THE SERIES
Columbia is 9-8 against Cornell since 2009. Neither side has earned a season sweep over the other since the Big Red pulled it off in 2013, but Columbia earned back-to-back season sweeps in 2011 and 2012. Cornell holds the all-time series lead by a margin of 53-13.