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Volleyball notches first win of Ivy play against Penn, drops match to Princeton

Isabella Bonatakis ’26 sets career-high in blocks, kills

Beau Vanderlaan ’25 and Cierra Jenkins ’24 combined for a key block late in the second set against Penn.
Beau Vanderlaan ’25 and Cierra Jenkins ’24 combined for a key block late in the second set against Penn.

This weekend, the women’s volleyball team (10-3, 1-2 Ivy) split matches at the Pizzitola Sports Center, losing to the Princeton Tigers (6-6, 3-1 Ivy) Friday and winning against the Penn Quakers (2-12, 0-4 Ivy) Saturday.

On Friday night, the Bears looked to take their first home game of Ivy League play coming off a crushing loss to Yale in New Haven a week prior.

“This is our home, and so there's nowhere in the league we feel more comfortable,” said Head Coach Taylor Virtue. “Having our fans and our people here's a big deal.”

Bruno opened the match by conceding four consecutive points to Princeton. But the Bears battled back, slowly chipping away at the Tigers’ lead until a block by Isabella Bonatakis ’26 closed the gap and brought the score to 10-9. The two teams remained close for the remainder of the set, with the Bears taking a momentary 18-17 lead before ultimately dropping the first set 25-21.


Despite being close early in the second set, the Bears eventually went down 16-10. After fighting back towards the conclusion of the set, with the last 18 points evenly split 9-9, the six-point deficit proved too much to overcome and Brown lost the second set 25-19. 

Despite a dominant third set which the Bears won 25-16, Bruno was unable to maintain the momentum and lost the match to Princeton 3-1 after a 25-20 loss in the fourth and final set. 

Despite the loss, the Bears tallied more points on kills, aces and blocks than the Tigers, outscoring them 69 to 67. The offense was led by setter Cierra Jenkins ’24, who notched 41 assists.

“I would say I play better under pressure,” Jenkins said following Saturday’s win. “It feels nice to do well for my team. I'm just dishing the ball out to my hitters, and really they have the hard part. I'm just getting it up in the air for them to do the main job.”

Outside hitter Kayla Griebl ’25 managed a double-double with 11 kills and 11 digs as well as two aces. Bonatakis had six blocks Friday night, a new career-high.

The Bears, however, had a worse hitting percentage than the Tigers, being outhit .245 to .203.

“We got some standout performances from different athletes, but there's some parts of our game that we (have) got to make sure are really solid before next weekend,” Virtue said.

Saturday morning, the Bears returned to the Pizz looking to bounce back from Friday’s loss in their match against the Quakers. 

The Bears dominated, claiming in a victory with 46 kills in three sets after recording 52 kills in four sets on Friday night. The attack was once again led by Jenkins, who tallied another 31 assists.

“All of our attitude shifted from the loss last night to focusing on this play, this game tonight to get the job done,” Jenkins said.


Bruno won the first set easily, amassing a twelve-point lead through the first twenty-four rallies. 

The Quakers eventually chipped away at the lead, but it was too late to mount a comeback as a kill by Bonatakis sealed the 25-14 victory. Bonatakis went on to finish the match with a career-high nine kills.

“Our energy was a lot more positive,” libero and defensive specialist Jessie Golden ’26 said. “We were a lot more excited when we got points and we were a lot more collected.”

The second set was more of a battle for the Bears, who found themselves down 17-14 despite taking an early lead. Unfortunately for the Quakers, Beau Vanderlaan ’25 had two consecutive kills and a block with Jenkins to put the Bears back on top 18-17. Jenkins then had her own kill to extend the lead to 19-17. After a late consolation point by UPenn, the Bears managed to score six straight to finish the set 25-18.

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The Bears closed the day the same way they opened it, winning 25-14 over the Quakers to take the set and earn their first win of Ivy play.

Golden tallied 18 digs on Saturday and 24 on Friday, totaling 42 across both games.

“We just had to go back to our fundamentals, and really remember that ‘you know how to play volleyball,’” said Golden. “Our team just really pushed through.”

The Bears look to continue their season next Friday at Columbia before returning to the Pizz Oct. 13 to face Dartmouth.

Dennis Carey

Dennis Carey is a Sports Editor who enjoys playing volleyball, listening to and collecting vinyl records, and poorly playing the guitar in his spare time.

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