The volleyball team lost three sets to zero against both Penn and Princeton over the weekend, leaving Brown (6-15, 1-9 Ivy) with only four contests left in the season to snap its current five-game losing streak.
Avoiding a repeat of their most recent match against Yale, the Bears never gave the Quakers (10-9, 5-5) a chance to let down their guard Friday. A 5-0 run by Brown quickly decimated Penn’s early lead, and it wasn’t until a last-minute 4-0 run by Penn that the Quakers clinched the first set. Though Brown surged ahead in the second set, Penn leveled with a 7-1 run, after which the Bears slipped into a four-point deficit that they could not overcome, dropping the set 25-12. No team had a lead larger than three points in the third and final set, but Penn ultimately took the game 25-23 to claim the match. In the contest, captain and libero Melissa Cairo ’18 had a match-high three service aces.
“I thought we competed well all three sets,” said Head Coach Diane Short. “We didn’t win, but it was one of our better, compete-from-the-beginning-to-the-end matches.”
Princeton also (14-6, 7-3) entered Saturday’s match hoping to bounce back from a difficult loss. Bruno had a strong first set, staying nearly point-for-point with the Tigers for its duration. A three-point streak by the Bears, powered by two kills from Eliza Grover ’21, brought the score within one at 22-23. But a Princeton timeout stalled Bruno’s momentum and the Tigers took the set 25-23.
The second set was considerably tougher for Brown, as the Bears fell behind 13-3 on seven near-consecutive kills by Princeton. A Brown timeout helped the Bears reset and keep within 10 points of the Tigers, but 23-14 was the closest Bruno came to equalizing the set,which Princeton claimed 25-14.
The 10-minute regroup between sets helped the Bears start the third set strongly, responding to the Tigers’ 3-0 opening by retaking the lead with a 5-1 streak.
But after a 5-1 Princeton run put the Tigers ahead 14-8, Bruno again could not close the gap down the stretch. Princeton took the set 25-17 to win the match at 3-0.
The record might be bleak, but Coach Short believes in her team. “We are playing better. … (Emma Chow ’21) is bringing a lot of energy. She really celebrates when others do well, and that’s always good for chemistry. … Defensively, we did well. Melissa Cairo had a nice weekend.”
With four matches left in the season, the team is looking for a final positive push. “We just gotta keep fighting and being competitive,” Coach Short said. “It’s the kind of game where you have to change things and keep adapting throughout the game.”
Brown will host Dartmouth for its next match Friday at 7 p.m.