The Empire State Bowl may well have lived up to its grandiose name on Saturday as Football played their best half of the season to beat Cornell 34-17 in the final home game of 2012 – or forever if the Mayans have their way. While Football was the only team that lifted a trophy this weekend, some others came pretty damn close. Volleyball concluded the season with their fifth straight win, beating Princeton 3-1 and earning them a program-best 2nd place in the Ivy League. To add to the good news, senior sensation Meghan Gaughn cruised passed the career kill record of 1,256 on Friday against Penn. Men’s Cross Country finished in 2nd place at the NCAA Northeast Regionals on Saturday, making program history and earning them an automatic bid to the NCAA Nationals.
After the jump, get all the details from this week’s athletic contests, including the final Ivy League standings for Volleyball, Field Hockey, and Men’s and Women’s Soccer.
Football (3-6, 2-4 Ivy League):
Cornell 34-17 (W)
Overview: After an embarrassing 69-0 loss to Harvard last weekend, the Lions bounced back at the Empire Sate Bowl against Cornell, winning in a thrilling come-from-behind victory. Columbia got on the board first with an eight-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, but fell behind as Cornell scored 17 unanswered points in the first half. Luke Eddy’s last-second field goal made it a 17-10 game heading into the break, shifting the momentum to the Lions and setting up a stellar second half. The beginning of the third quarter was highlighted by exceptional defensive plays, including a fumble recovery and a Top 10-worthy sack from Ryan Murphy, before the Lions were able to convert on offense. Star running back Marcorus Garrett tied the game for Columbia with five minutes remaining in the third quarter with an 86-yard touchdown drive. Another fumble recovery put the Lions in scoring position again just minutes later, and quarterback Sean Brackett capitalized on the opening, finding Hamilton Garner for a 22-yard touchdown pass. Up 24-17, Columbia didn’t pump the breaks on offense, as another successful drive led to a 38-yard field goal to start off the fourth quarter. One final drive put the nail in the coffin when Brackett hit Garner garner with a 27-yard touchdown pass, pushing the lead to 34-17 over the Big Red.
Up Next: The Lions conclude the 2012 season on Saturday when they take on Brown in Providence at 12:30 pm.
Volleyball (14-9, 9-5 Ivy League):
Penn 3-1 (W)
Princeton 3-1 (W)
Overview: The Lions put an emphatic ending on their sensational season with five straight wins, propelling them to a second place finish in the Ivy League – the best season performance in program history. Against Penn on Friday, the Lions led the whole way after dropping the opening point to take the first set 25-21. The Quakers battled back in the second, going on a 9-2 run to close out the set after the score was tied at 16. The third set was another back-and-forth battle, but the Lions created some distance with a 5-0 run to go up 18-13, four of which came from senior Meghan Gaughn as she broke the record for career kills (1,256) set in 2008. As Gaughn passed that milestone, the Quakers answered the Lions run, eventually tying the score at 22-22. The score was knotted four more times before Columbia closed out the set with three straight points, 28-26. The Lions carried the momentum from the third set into the fourth, winning easily 25-16. In addition to breaking the career kills record, Gaughn also record a season-high 24 kills in the match. Not a bad night.
Columbia closed out the 2012 season on Saturday against Princeton, ending the seniors’ careers fittingly with a big win. Though the Tigers jumped out to an early lead, the Lions fought back, taking the lead for the first time at 11-10. Columbia didn’t look back from there as they led for the rest of the set, taking it 25-22. It was the Lions who took the early lead in the second, and the score only tied once at 12 as Columbia went on to win it 25-21. Down two sets to zero in the third, Princeton came charging back, taking the lead at 6-5 and maintaining it through to the end of the set. The Lions, however, didn’t let the Tigers get all the way back into the match as a kill from senior Heather Braunagel with the score knotted at 12 sparked a 6-2 and helped the Lions close out the match, 25-17.
Men’s Soccer (4-8-4, 2-3-2 Ivy League):
Cornell 0-1 (L)
Overview: It was a disappointing evening for the five seniors playing in the final match of their careers as the Lions faced Cornell, who had already clinched the Ivy League title before the match. Nevertheless, the Lions played right with the League-winners, outplaying them for periods of the game but ultimately were unable to find the back of the net. Columbia fired the first shot of the game, but junior David Najem’s shot was saved by the Big Red keeper. Less than two minutes later, in the 15th minute, Columbia tried to clear the ball from the box but a Cornell player headed it back towards goal. A Big Red forward was able to control it and rifled a shot into the back of the Lions’ net, tallying the only goal of the night. The teams continued to trade chances through the remainder of the first half and the second half, but to no avail. Senior Brendan O’Hearn almost saved the Lions with a header towards goal in the 85th minute, but he missed wide as the Lions went on to drop the final game of the season, 0-1.
2012 NCAA Northeast Regionals
Men’s XC – 2nd Place
Women’s XC – 9th Place
Overview: At the NCAA Northeast Regionals, Men’s XC tallied 72 points, beating out No. 2-ranked Syracuse by one point and earning them second place in the region and an automatic bid for the NCAA Cross Country National Championships. Four Columbia runners placed in the top 15, including junior Jake Sienko (7th), seniors Mark Feigen (11th), Mike Murphy (12th) and Leighton Spencer (15th). The Women’s team, which has struggled with injuries this season – especially to All-American Waverly Neer – finished 9th overall, led by senior Erin Gillingham (24th).
Men’s Basketball (1-0):
Furmam 68-47 (W)
Overview: The Lions started the season off in style on Saturday, finishing off Furman by more than 20 points in Greenville, South Carolina. Putting offensive pressure on Furman from the get-go, the Lions mounted a huge lead in the first half, culminating in a three from freshman Grant Mullins that made it a 37-13 game. The Lions continued to dominate in the second half, though both teams struggled with foul trouble, and never let Furman come within 18. Senior Brian Barbour led both teams with 19 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Up Next: The Lions will take on Haverford in their home-opener on Tuesday at 7:30pm in Levien.
Women’s Basketball (0-2):
Long Island 42-53 (L)
Vermont 40-46 (L)
Overview: The Lions opened the 2012-2013 season against Long Island on Friday in Levien, falling 42-53 after leading at the half. Two early threes from sophomore guard Caitlyn Unsworth helped the Lions to jump out to a 15-6 lead in the first half. In the second half, however, Long Island took hold of the game, culminating in 11 unanswered points that put them up 38-31 over the Lions. LIU continued to pull away from Columbia late in the second half, leading by as many as 11 before closing out the game.
The Lions dropped their second straight on the road today against Vermont, 40-46.
Up Next: Women’s B-Ball returns home on Wednesday to face Wagner at 7 pm in Levien.
Final Ivy League Standings and Honors
Volleyball* – 2nd Place (9-5)
Men’s Soccer* – 5th Place (2-3-2)
Women’s Soccer – 5th Place (2-4-1)
Isabel King CC’13 (First-Team All-Ivy), Beverley Leon CC’14 (Second-Team All-Ivy), Catherine Troup CC’15 (Honorable Mention All-Ivy), and Grace Redmon CC’15 (Honorable Mention All-Ivy)
Field Hockey – 3rd Place (4-3)
Katie DeSandis CC’15 (First-Team All-Ivy), Gabby Kozlowski CC’13 (First-Team All-Ivy), Bridget DeSandis CC’13 (Second-Team All-Ivy), and Paige Simmons CC’13 (Second-Team All-Ivy)
*Ivy League honors will come out this week