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Women’s volleyball clinches share of Ivy regular-season title

<h5>For the 19th time in program history, the women’s volleyball team are the Ivy Champions.&nbsp;</h5>
<h6><a href="https://twitter.com/PrincetonWVB/status/1591602869173723137/photo/1" target="_self">@PrincetonWVB/Twitter.&nbsp;</a></h6>
For the 19th time in program history, the women’s volleyball team are the Ivy Champions. 
@PrincetonWVB/Twitter. 

The women’s volleyball team (21–3 overall, 13–1 Ivy League) officially clinched the Ivy League regular-season title after wins against the Columbia Lions (6–17, 3–11) and the Cornell Big Red (6–17, 4–10). These final two regular season games were a clean sweep, with the Tigers winning all six sets of the weekend. 

The first set in the game against the Lions was the most difficult for the Tigers. Although Princeton started strong, they trailed behind Columbia 19–15 early. However, the Tigers were quick to turn the game around. With help from first-year middle blocker Lucia Scalamandre, who executed crucial blocks and kills, the Tigers closed out the set 25–22. 

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Princeton held all the momentum in the second set. Senior setter Lindsey Kelly pulled off perfect sets for her teammates, and the Tigers finished the set with a score of 25–14. 

Kelly is one of six seniors on the team of 16. 

“Having an older team allowed us to fall back on years of experience when things weren’t going our way, which kept us confident in tighter situations and helped us pull out some really crucial wins,” Kelly wrote to The Daily Princetonian. 

The Tigers demonstrated this composure in the final set against the Lions where the two fought neck and neck for the first few points. However, once the score hit 6–6, the Tigers took off. They went on a five-point streak, not letting the Lions past their solid defense. Princeton held their lead for the rest of the set, and once again finished with a score of 25–14.

For the next game of the weekend, the Tigers traveled north to visit Cornell. All three sets at Cornell were hard fought battles between both teams, but the Tigers remained persistent. 

Recently coming off of an injury, senior outside hitter Elena Montgomery had the second most kills in the match with nine, second to senior Melina Mahood, who had 14. The Tigers won the first set with a score of 25–21.

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Scalamandre finished the game with three blocks. The final three gave her 102 blocks on the season, earning her the third most blocks by a player in a season at Princeton. In the next set, Tigers once again battled with the Big Red, and Mahood put the nail in the coffin to finish the set 25–21.

For their final set of the regular season, Princeton did not have it easy. Cornell was putting up a fight, determined to avoid the sweep, but the Tigers narrowly held on to their lead throughout the set, and ended the set with a score of 25–21 for the third time.

Princeton shares this year's Ivy League regular-season title with Yale, as they both only lost one game of the season, each to the other. 

“Our work is not done yet,” Kelly said. “We’re thrilled that this inaugural Ivy League tournament gives us the opportunity to prove that we are the outright best team in the Ivy League and ultimately compete in the NCAA tournament.”

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The Tigers will face Brown (14–9, 10–4) in the first round of the Ivy League tournament on Saturday, Nov. 18 in New Haven. The winner will advance to play in the finals on Sunday at 6 p.m. 

Evelyn Walsh is a contributor to the Sports section at the Prince. Please direct any corrections requests to corrections@dailyprincetonian.com.

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