In preparation for conference play, the volleyball team (5-6) hosted the Brown Invitational this weekend, managing to win two of its four games.
The Bears suffered a tough 3-2 loss to the University of Rhode Island (9-3) in the first matchup but then managed to turn right around and dominate Holy Cross (5-11) with a 3-0 victory. On Saturday, Brown repeated the previous night's performance, starting with a sweep of Central Connecticut State (2-7), but then ended up on the other side of the spectrum, losing in straight sets against Boston College (8-5).
"All the teams in this tournament were even, and I knew it would be a really good experience," said Head Coach Diane Short. "We're trying to prepare for Ivy League play."
URI 3, Brown 2
Brown started off the game strong, crushing URI 25-15 in the first set. But the Rams rebounded in the second set and won by a slim margin, 25-22. The momentum shifted back in the Bears' favor in the third set, which they dominated with a 25-16 victory.
URI never allowed Brown to take the lead again — the Rams won the fourth set 25-16 and forced a decisive fifth set, which they won 15-10.
"They're a good team," said setter Alexandra Rieckhoff '14, who had 42 assists. "We should have beat them in four, but we played well."
The matchup had a particular importance for Short.
"It was heartbreaking" to lose to "my alma mater," Short said. She said she believes that the team "ran into some problems" at the end of the game.
"There were some momentum changes that worked against us," Short said. "And we kept serving to their best passer. But there were lots of digs, and it could have gone either way."
Brown 3, Holy Cross 0
Less than an hour later, the Bears battled Holy Cross and managed to put the recent past behind them. Brown won both the first and second set by the score of 25-19. In the third frame, the Crusaders came their closest to edging past the Bears, but Brown won 25-21, sweeping Holy Cross.
"It was one of our better-serving games," Short said. "The confidence level was high throughout the match."
Defensive specialist Annika Gliottone '12 led the squad with three service aces.
Brown 3, Central Conn. 0
The Bears' momentum carried over to the next day against Central Connecticut State. In the first set, Brown managed to hold Central Connecticut State to 13 points. Though the Blue Devils nipped at Bruno's heels in the next two sets, the Bears managed to hold on to their lead, winning by identical 25-23 scores.
"We should have beat them, so it was good to win," Rieckhoff said.
The stars of the game were outside hitter Katrina Post '13, with 14 kills and 13 digs, and outside hitter Emma Pastore '14 with 11 kills.
BC 3, Brown 0
In their fourth and final match of the tournament and their second game of the day, the Bears could not keep their winning streak going. BC shut down Brown's offense and defense in the first set, earning the easy 25-16 win. The Bears battled in the second set, but could not pull it out in the end, losing 25-23. The Eagles took the third and final set 25-20.
"We weren't serving well enough," Short said. "We couldn't pass well enough to run offense."
But Short said she was not disappointed in her team's performance against BC. "BC is in a tougher conference," she said, and recruits many players on scholarship, while Brown "players play for the love of the game."
Despite being swept by BC in the last game, defensive specialist Carly Cotton ‘13 said the tournament was an overall positive experience for the team.
"We made improvements on things we've been doing in practice," Cotton said. "We just need to iron out some of the little things."
Bruno's next game is Saturday at 1 p.m. at Stony Brook, and the squad kicks off conference play against Yale on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.
"We're excited for Yale," Cotton said. "We'll be ready by then."