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‘Talented and hungry’: Volleyball sweeps Stonehill, improves to 4-0 on season

Beau Vanderlaan ’25 hits career-high .800 in three-set victory

<p>Volleyball has remained undefeated since new Head Coach Taylor Virtue assumed leadership of team. </p><p>Courtesy of Emma C. Marion/Brown Athletics</p>

Volleyball has remained undefeated since new Head Coach Taylor Virtue assumed leadership of team.

Courtesy of Emma C. Marion/Brown Athletics

The volleyball team (4-0) handily defeated the Stonehill College Skyhawks at the Pizzitola Sports Center Tuesday evening, sweeping the match 3-0. The team remains undefeated under the leadership of new Head Coach Taylor Virtue, who was promoted in April after serving as an assistant coach for the past two seasons.

“I’ve got a pretty veteran squad who’s really talented and hungry,” said Virtue. “A lot of this group won an Ivy League Championship in ’21, and so they’re ready for more of that. When you have a group that cares as much and works as hard as this one does, it’s not hard to start off the year like this.”

With the first set tied at 2-2, Brown went on a 9-0 surge, going on to dominate Stonehill 25-15. The Skyhawks never held a lead in set two, with the Bears’ offense hitting .630 to take another commanding 25-11 victory.

“Even with such a loud crowd and the heat that we had today, (we have to focus) on how we play,” said Beau Vanderlaan ’25. “I think mainly in the first two sets we did a really good job of doing that.”


Vanderlaan — a unanimous Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2021 and unanimous First Team All-Ivy Selection last season — had a career night, hitting a remarkable 8-for-10 with five blocks in the match.

Cierra Jenkins ’24, the 2021 Ivy League Player of the Year, led the team with 24 assists, setting seven of Vanderlaan’s eight kills.

“I really owe it all to the passers and the setters,” Vanderlaan said. “Cierra is unbelievable. I can’t even express how good she is.”

Jessie Golden ’26 led the team with 12 digs, giving her a total of 68 in four games to open the season. 

“Jessie leads the back row like no other,” Vanderlaan said.

The third set proved more challenging for Bruno, with the team falling in an early 11-7 hole before a six-point run. The score remained close as the two teams went back and forth. Clinging to a 19-18 lead, the Bears finished strong on a 6-1 run to earn the clean sweep.

“In the third set, we started off a little bit slower, but we found a way to get back and pull ourselves out of that hole that we dug,” said Kayla Griebl ’25. “I think that just shows that we have a lot of fight on our team, and no matter who you put in we’re going to find a way to win.”

Griebl finished the match with 10 kills, marking her first double-digit kill total this year after earning it seven times last season.

“My focus has shifted a little bit,” Griebl explained. “I’m trying to play higher on the offense, and that will result in me not getting blocked as much.”

Mariia Sidorova ’26 followed Vanderlaan with nine kills on the evening, while Jilienne Widener ’24, Hannah Flannery ’26, Gabby Derrick ’25 and Jenkins each racked up four. Derrick and Flannery also recorded three blocks apiece.


The Bears will next compete at an invitational at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia later this week, followed by a trio of games against Binghamton University, Michigan State University and the University of Connecticut. The team’s Ivy opener is set for Sept. 22 against Yale in New Haven.

The schedule is “definitely gonna ramp up in competition,” Virtue said. “It’s gonna be a challenge, but that’s exactly what we need heading into Ivy” play.

Looking forward to the match-ups against “physical” teams like Michigan State and UConn, Vanderlaan said the group is “really excited to see what we look like against (teams) that huge (and) competitive to lead us into Ivy play.”

Coming off two of the most successful seasons in program history — winning the Ivy League Championship in 2021 and making the league finals in 2022 — Vanderlaan confirmed that expectations are “of course high” this season. “We want to win the league,” she said. “I think that’s every team in the Ivy League’s goal.”

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“We have the players to do it (and) the leadership to do it,” Griebl said. “And the coach to do it,” Vanderlaan added.

Linus Lawrence

Linus is a sports editor from New York City. He is a junior concentrating in English, and when he's out of The Herald office you can find him rooting for the Mets, watching Star Wars or listening to The Beach Boys.

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