PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Saturday's match presents the Brown volleyball team with a challenge that no Ivy League team has accomplished this season: beat the hard-hitting Bulldogs of Yale. Winners of seven in a row en route to a spotless 7-0 record in Ivy League play, the Bulldogs take to the court in the Pizzitola Sports Center against the Bears with the first serve slated for 5 p.m.
Video of all home contests and all Ivy League games, home and away, will be broadcast live on BrownBears.TV. Fans can subscribe and view games by purchasing yearly, monthly, weekly or daily packages.
LAST TIME OUT
Despite seven days off from live competition, the Bears aim to pick up where they left off last Saturday when senior Amanda Nickel (Corona Del Mar, Calif.) smoked 13 kills to lead Brown to a 3-1 victory at Cornell.
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.).
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Straight-set winners against Brown in the Ivy League opener earlier this season, the Bulldogs have streaked to seven wins in a row, four of which ended in three sets. Yale ranks first in the league and 34th in the nation with 13.89 kills per set thanks to Mollie Rogers and Brittani Steinberg, who combine to average 5.76 kills per set to respectively stand sixth and seventh in the Ivy League in scoring. Steinberg is the reigning Ivy League Player of the Week after hitting .509 with 31 kills Yale's last two wins.
Yale played stifling defense when the two teams met in New Haven, Conn., in September, allowing no Bears to exceed five kills and holding the visitors to a .027 hitting percentage. However, Brown's recent run of four wins in the last six matches suggest that the Bears have found their groove and are primed to face the league's team to beat on Saturday.
Brown heads north next weekend for a pair of Ivy League showdowns, beginning at Harvard on Friday and Dartmouth on Saturday. The Bears took back-to-back five-set victories at home over the two Ancient Eight rivals earlier this season.