The women's volleyball team, suffering from a tough start to their Ivy League season, fell to Ivy co-leader Penn (3-0, 11-4) on Friday night and Princeton (1-2, 3-11) the following afternoon. The Quakers were quick to sweep Brown, 3-0, despite Brown's best efforts to hold onto the score. Saturday afternoon the Bears were again unable to keep up, as they fell in four sets to the Tigers, 3-1. The losses dropped Brown to 4-10 overall and 0-3 in the Ivy League.
Despite Brown's early lead in the first set, 5-1, Penn wasted no time after a short timeout to tie the game at five and capture the win at 25-17. Brown put up a fight again in the second set but fell late in the set, 25-20. The Quakers dominated the third set for a decisive 25-9 victory.
Although all efforts fell shy of leading the Bears to victory, the game was not without notable performances. As Head Coach Diane Short pointed out, Brianna Williamson '11 had a strong match, leading the Bears with nine kills and 10 digs. Carly Cotton '13 held down the defense with 16 digs. Christina Berry '13 also added to the Brown cause with seven kills and six digs. Spencer McAndrews '12 notched a team-high 18 assists.
"With such a large and young team, I am really confident in our ability to make big improvements with every match," said Kim Bundick '10.
The Bears were shortly back in action against Princeton, as both teams vied for their first Ivy League win. The Tigers took what seemed to be an overwhelming 24-14 lead in the first set, but were caught off guard as Alexandra Ilstad's '13 serving pushed the Bears back into the game, down 24-22. Princeton, however, got its much needed final point for a 1-0 lead. The second set seemed very evenly matched, as the teams fought point for point until the very end. Tied at 23, Princeton gained the final two points for the win.
Following two very tight sets, the Bears finally had some luck with a third-set victory. Brown stormed out to a 13-9 lead, holding Princeton to a .085 hitting percentage, their lowest of the day. The Tigers, despite fighting back for a tight finish, came up short as Brown walked away with a 25-22 victory. The Bears were less successful in the fourth, as Princeton took a 25-23 win for their first Ivy League victory this year.
"We played very well at times and not great at others, but I think that we're definitely improving," said Short. "We are ranked 20th of 331 in the country in aces and digs, so we just have to have the rest of our game catch up."
As praised by Short, co-captain Danielle Vaughan '11 played a great match, recording a game-high seven blocks and eight kills for a .400 hitting percentage. Williamson again held strong with 11 kills and 11 digs, as did Megan Toman '11, who notched an additional 11 kills and seven digs. On defense, Berry held down the fort with 12 digs.
"Although we may be off to a rocky start, we are definitely taking steps in the right direction," said co-captain Moira Gallagher '10, who tallied six kills and four digs. "We're ironing out the problems, and I feel like we'll soon be able to get it right and get some wins.
It's discouraging to start off Ivies like this, but I don't see us giving up any time soon. We're fighters."
The Bears face a long road trip next weekend as they take on Columbia on Friday followed by a drive to Cornell for Saturday's match.