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Swanson Posts Career-High 28 Digs in Five-Set Loss at Columbia

Kate Swanson (photo credit: Steve Musco)
Kate Swanson (photo credit: Steve Musco)

Steinberg Adds 20 Kills and Fifth Double-Double of the Season

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The Bulldogs went the distance Friday night and came up just short at Columbia to snap a three-match win streak.

Despite a career-high 28 digs from Kate Swanson and 20 kills from Brittani Steinberg, Yale lost in five sets to the Lions and dropped its first match in two weeks.  

The scores of the match were 25-18, 25-17, 17-25, 17-25, and 15- 13.

Steinberg hit .318 and added 17 digs to notch her fifth double-double of the season for the Bulldogs.

Friday marked Yale's second five-setter of the season, and its first since the opening-weekend over Rutgers. 

The final set featured six ties.  Kaitlyn Gibbons tied the set at seven, and several points later Kate Aitkenhead and Steinberg combined on a block to tie the set at 12 before Columbia scored three of the final four points.

Aitkenhead had a season-best six kills tonight, while teammate Kelsey Crawford had 19 assists and 15 digs.

After dropping the first two sets, the Bulldogs nearly pulled off an epic comeback on the road.  They did it with top-notch defense and a team season-best 87 digs -- their highest mark in 17 matches dating back to last season.

The Bulldogs (8-3, 1-1 Ivy) led for the entire third and fourth sets as their offense heated up.  

Megan Rasmussen (five kills) had back-to-back kills to push Yale's lead to four points midway through the third.  After an Aitkenhead kill and a Columbia error, Steinberg served up an ace to give the Bulldogs a 23-17 lead to put the set out of reach for the Lions. 

Kelley Wirth (eight kills) kept it going in the fourth set, accounting for the first three points with a block, an assist on a Claire Feeley kill, and a point of her own off a setup from Franny Arnautou.  Steinberg had four kills over Yale's next points, while Aitkenhead added another kill to give the Bulldogs a commanding 13-6 lead.

With the win, Columbia improved to 7-5 overall and 2-0 in conference play.

The Bulldogs play at Cornell on Saturday at 5 p.m. and return home next week for their first home matches since Sept. 3. 

Report filed by Ernie Bertothy, Yale Sports Publicity