Sports

Volleyball seniors end careers with split, drop final home match

Bears beat Penn and fall to Princeton to finish .500 and in fourth place in Ivy League standings

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, November 17, 2014

Maddie Lord ’15 goes up for a kill in a game this weekend. She tallied 11 against Penn and Princeton in the final two games for Lord and her four senior teammates, who led the team to an even record in Ivy play.

On Saturday night, five seniors ended their collegiate volleyball careers under the familiar lights of the Pizzitola Sports Center. Friends and family members gathered to cheer them on during their last minutes in Brown uniforms, snapping picture after picture, during an emotional close to the season — a tough 3-0 loss to Princeton.

The women’s volleyball team split the two matches of its final weekend. The team pulled off a nail-biter Friday, beating Penn 3-2, but failed to carry its momentum into Saturday’s matchup.

Prior to the games, Coach Diane Short said, “We have been fine-tuning in some areas and getting some good reps for some skills that we need to use to consistently win.”

Against Penn, Bruno battled back after an early deficit. It was not looking good for the Bears — the team fell in the first two sets, losing 25-20 and 25-15. But they rallied to win the next three consecutive sets, 25-22, 25-22 and 19-17.

Taylor Bantle ’15 said it “was a game I will always remember.”

Payton Smith ’17 led the offensive attack with 14 kills, while Brittany Link ’15 followed close behind with thirteen. The Bears stayed strong and consistent on the defensive end as well. Kathryn Conner ’15 secured her third-place position on Brown’s career digs list, adding 20 more digs against the Quakers.

Though Brown ultimately came out with the win, the team lagged behind Penn in a number of areas. The Quakers posted a .284 hitting percentage while registering 23 blocks and 107 digs. Bruno could not match them, posting a .200 hitting percentage with eight blocks and 105 digs.

Before the game, Short said the team had been running through drills that emphasized maintaining a positive focus while working through frustration. This targeted preparation paid off for the Bears.

But the next night, the Tigers swept the Bears in three games, 29-27, 25-20 and 25-19.

Despite the loss, the seniors ended their careers on high notes. Maddie Lord ’15 registered 11 kills and a .375 hitting percentage. Bantle finished the game in fourth place on Brown’s career blocks list, posting three against the Tigers.

Conner finished her career with 1,432 digs — adding 15 on Saturday alone. Maryl Vanden Bos ’15 supported her teammates with 15 assists, while Link tallied five kills.

Looking back, Bantle said the way her team fights is what has stood out to her most throughout the season. “Even though we lost, it meant more to me that we went down fighting instead of giving up,” she said.

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