The women’s volleyball team (10-3, 3-0 Ivy) defeated Cornell (4-7, 0-3) and Columbia (4-8, 1-2) this weekend in consecutive 3-1 home wins. In each matchup, the Bears were deadlocked with their Ivy rival at one set apiece before pulling away to take the final two. Brown’s 3-0 record in conference play represents its best Ivy League start during Head Coach Ahen Kim’s tenure, which began in January 2018.
The matches against Cornell and Columbia represented Brown’s first Ivy league home series since 2019. “It was awesome (competing in front of the crowd),” middle blocker Gabby Derrick ’25 said. “The energy of the crowd, and to get to see everyone come out and support us — it’s great to have that feeling.”
In Brown’s game against the Big Red Friday, the Bears dropped the first set 25-20 due to multiple critical attack errors in the back half of the set. But Bruno quickly recuperated, pulling ahead 9-3 in the second set and cruising to take the set 25-21. The Bears maintained their momentum in the third set, dominating 25-18, and won the final seven points of the fourth set to win it 25-15.
While the Bears struggled to pull away from the Lions Saturday, their clutch performance in key moments cemented their eventual win. Down 23-22 in the business end of the first set, the Bears took the next three points, including a kill by Beau Vanderlaan ’25 to clinch the set. Columbia battled back to take the second set 25-21, but Brown responded with a 25-20 win in the third.
Bruno then locked up its 3-0 Ivy record with the most dramatic set of the weekend. Up 23-19, the Bears looked in position for a comfortable victory. But the Lions stormed back, setting up set point at 24-23. The Bears defended their home court by taking the next three points and the match, including a crucial kill by Kate Sheire ’24 to set up match point.
“We (were) playing down to the other team’s level,” outside hitter Sophia Miller ’23 said. “What really changed the game (was) we decided to destroy every single ball.”
Columbia “really made us better,” Kim said. “They played their system really well, and it forced us to have to step into ours and be a little bit more disciplined ourselves. To see (my team) pull that out of themselves is good. … I’m looking for my team to bring that on their own now and not wait for someone else to elevate our level of play.”
Setter Cierra Jenkins ’24 provided critical setup for the Bears throughout the weekend, notching a combined 82 assists across the home series. Vanderlaan and Sheire led Bruno at the net, with Vanderlaan making 12 blocks and Sheire generating 31 kills.
Brown’s victory extended its overall winning streak to six matches. The 10-3 Bears have not dropped a match to a team outside a major conference.
“3-0 (in the Ivy League) is still very early stuff,” Kim said. “It’s going to take us getting two points better every day to get to where we want to be, which is the Ivy League Championship.”
Brown will look to keep its perfect Ivy record alive during another home series next weekend. The Bears will take on Dartmouth Friday and Harvard Saturday.