HANOVER, N.H. – Dartmouth volleyball blanked Columbia (25-18, 25-15, 25-17) at Leede Arena on Friday night. The Big Green picked up their first Ivy League win of the season to improve to 5-6 overall and 1-1 in conference play, while the Lions dipped to 5-6 and 0-2. 

Freshman Mallen Bischoff led the team with her 11 kills and was second with 10 digs, while classmate Tori Dozier had her fifth double-double of the season with 30 assists and 12 digs. Junior Zoe Leonard had four of Dartmouth’s seven service aces and freshman Tola Akinwumi had some huge blocks, ending with two solos and one block assist. 

“I thought we started a little slow,” head coach Gilad Doron said, “but the team did what we asked them to do and executed the game plan and built confidence as the game continued to win this one. It was great to see. We had great defense and great offense and I’m very happy for our team. Hopefully, they can find it within them to stay composed and stay together to get ready for another big game against Cornell tomorrow.

“We have five freshmen on the floor,” Doron continued. “It’s not always going to be clean and pretty, but to see them grow and get confident and do things they’ve worked on all week is worth it. It was a great team effort. I hope we’re not satisfied and that we can be even better and stronger tomorrow.”

The early parts of the first set were very close. The Big Green got off to a 2-0 start following a kill by freshman Olympia Nagel-Caland and an ace by sophomore Corinne Cox, but the Lions soon tied it up. Five ties later, Dartmouth pulled away thanks to kills by Nagel-Caland and Bischoff and a Columbia error (12-9). Dartmouth got as far as seven points ahead courtesy of a 4-0 run (20-13) and swiftly shut the set down after another Bischoff kill (25-18). 

There were just two ties to start the second set before the Big Green took control, jumping out to a seven-point lead (10-3) courtesy of some nice kills and back-to-back Leonard aces. The visitors were able to get within six points at the end, but a four-point Dartmouth run following two kills by sophomore Carly Tower, one by Bischoff and a Columbia error gave set two to the Green (25-15).

Set three was the closest one of the night. Dartmouth trailed for the first half of the set, tying the score five times, but always falling back behind by a point or two. With Columbia leading, 10-8, two Lion errors and kills by Dozier and Akinwumi gave the Big Green a 12-10 edge, an advantage that they would hold on to until throughout the remainder of the set. Columbia made it a two-point set (17-15), but an 8-2 Dartmouth run – thanks, in part, to six Lion errors – ended the match (25-17).

The Big Green will return to the court on Saturday to host Cornell at 5 p.m.