ITHACA, N.Y. – Senior Amanda Nickel (Corona Del Mar, Calif.) racked up 13 kills to lift the Brown volleyball team to a 3-1 win over Cornell in Ivy League play at Newman Arena on Saturday. The victory snaps a two-match losing streak and helps the Bears improve to 8-10 overall and 4-3 in conference play, which is the most overall wins for Brown since 2010 and most Ivy League wins since 2008. The Big Red falls 6-11 overall and 2-5 in league action with the loss.
Nickel was joined by senior Thea Derrough (La Jolla, Calif.) with 11 kills and junior Maddie Lord (La Jolla, Calif.) with 10 kills to pace a Brown attack that outhit the opposition .132 to .092. Sophomore Rachele Killian (Laguna Beach, Calif.) and freshman Sarah Lucenti (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) each handed out 20 assists, while senior Alexandra Rieckhoff (Laguna Beach, Calif.) and junior Kathryn Conner (Newport Beach, Calif.) had 15 and 14 digs, respectively. The Bears patrolled the net for 26 total blocks – their second best mark of the year – thanks to seven from freshman Payton Smith (Atherton, Calif.) and six by junior Taylor Bantle (Pacific Palisades, Calif.).
For Cornell, Breanna Wong had a match-best 17 kills and Macey Wilson added 11. Natasha Rowland hustled for 23 digs and Alyssa Phelps led all setters with 37 assists.
Brown took the first set, 25-21, after a back-and-forth affair that saw the Bears fall behind 12-9 only to rally back for a 25-21 win. The Bears hit just .071 in the frame but took advantage of 13 errors by the Big Red.
The Bears needed extended play to take down Cornell in set two, 26-24. A Lord ace gave Brown a 20-14 lead and it appeared the visitors would stroll to a 2-0 set advantage, but the Big Red went on a 9-3 run to tie things at 23-23. Lord and Derrough notched kills to force set point and Lord hammered it home for the two-point decision.
The third set went to extra points as well, but this time in favor of the Big Red by a 28-26 margin. Neither team relented and never surrendered a lead larger than three points the entire set, and Brown escaped defeat when the hosts faltered on a serve to force a 25-25 tie. Nickel cracked a kill to move the score to 26-26, but a Wong kill and a Brown error halved the Bears' lead, 2-1.
Brown avoided its sixth five-set match of the season with a narrow 25-23 win in the fourth frame. The Bears stormed ahead 13-8 early on, but a Sarah Hunt kill capped a Cornell rally to make it 22-21. Nickel and Rieckhoff earned kills to work around a Brown service error, spelling a 24-22 score. Rachel D'Epagnier spiked a point to keep the Big Red hopes alive, but Derrough sealed the match with her 11th kill of the night.
The Bears return home next Saturday to take on league-leading Yale in Ivy League play at 5 p.m.