There are certain rivalries in college sports that shut down entire cities, turn sibling against sibling and provide bragging rights for the rest of the year: Michigan vs. Ohio State in football, Duke vs. North Carolina in basketball and USC vs. UCLA in just about every sport. The crosstown women's volleyball rivalry between Brown (3-4) and Providence College (4-8) doesn't quite match up to those, but the yearly meeting is still marked on the teams' calendars.
"It's nice," Head Coach Diane Short said. "It's kind of like our little city championship, so it's always good to play them every year."
The PC game was the first in a week of four games for the players.
Brown 3, Providence College 0
Bruno played its home opener Wednesday against the Friars , coming away with a 25-16, 26-24, 25-20 victory.
"I thought we played really well," said co-captain Danielle Vaughan '11. "We lost a little momentum in the second game, but I really like how we fought even though the score got tight at the end."
The annual matchup against the Friars has some added significance for Short, who served as an assistant coach at PC for three seasons, including two seasons as head coach of the school's men's club volleyball team.
"It's a rivalry for us. Every year we have something we look forward to," said PC Head Coach Margot Royer-Johnson.
Ohio State 3, Brown 0
After defeating the Friars, Brown traveled to Baltimore last weekend for the University of Maryland at Baltimore County Invitational, where the team first faced perennial volleyball powerhouse Ohio State (9-1), losing 25-12, 25-20, 25-18.
Despite the loss, facing the highly ranked Buckeyes has its benefits for the Bears.
"I think it's going to prepare us really well" for league play, Vaughan said. "There's a lot of really big teams in the Ivy League like Yale and Penn, so it's great to see some big teams" in out-of-conference play.
Brown 3, Towson 1
In its second game of the UMBC tournament, Bruno faced one of the two host schools, Towson (10-3). Despite dropping the first set 25-17, Brown fought back to win three straight sets by scores of 25-19, 25-22 and 26-24.
"I think even when we lost the first set," Short said, the players "felt confident that they were going to win the match."
Katrina Post '13 recorded a team-high 12 kills and Annika Gliottone '12 added 23 digs.
Maryland at Baltimore County 3, Brown 1
In the final game of the tournament, Brown encountered the other host school, UMBC (4-5). After winning the first set 27-25, Bruno dropped the next three in highly contested play. UMBC took the remaining sets 25-21, 25-22 and 25-23.
"It was a disappointing loss against UMBC, but it was a very good learning experience," Short said. "They had the fans behind them, and fans were yelling every time we served, so that was good practice for us to be able to handle those situations."
The Bears saw strong performances throughout the tournament from Post, who made the All-Tournament Team, and Alexandra Rieckhoff '14. Rieckhoff has led the team in assists every game this year, including a season-high 42 against UMBC.
The Bears return to action this weekend as they host the Brown Invitational on Friday and Saturday, featuring Boston College, Holy Cross, the University of Rhode Island and Central Connecticut State.