Volleyball Rallies Past Harvard to Take Five-Set Decision on Senior Day, 3-2

Volleyball Rallies Past Harvard to Take Five-Set Decision on Senior Day, 3-2

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Freshman Gabrielle Moriconi tallied a team-high 18 kills, and senior libero Melissa Cairo registered a match-high 24 digs as Brown University volleyball rallied past Harvard University, 3-2 (18-25, 25-20, 12-25, 25-23, 15-13), on Saturday evening at the Pizzitola Sports Center in its home finale.

Trailing 2-1 in sets, the Bears (7-16, 2-10 Ivy) came back from a six-point deficit to take set four and used that momentum to propel themselves past the visiting Crimson (12-9, 7-5 Ivy) in the decisive fifth frame.

Moriconi (Naples, Fla.) notched a season-high in kills with her fifth double-figure kill performance of the year while Cairo (Hillsborough, Calif.) finished the weekend with 58 digs over nine sets and posted her fifth match with 20 or more digs this season.

Senior Shirin Tooloee (San Jose, Calif.) recorded nine kills and tied her career high with 19 digs. Junior Sabrina Stillwell (Laguna Beach, Calif.) added nine kills, and sophomore Jacqueline Jacobs (Atlanta, Ga.) led the match with seven blocks.

At the setter spot, freshman Emma Chow (Boulder, Colo.) dished out a season-high 23 assists, and fellow rookie Bailie Salk (Tiburon, Calif.) distributed 20 assists.

Prior to the match, Brown recognized the three members of its Class of 2018 – Melissa Cairo (Hillsborough, Calif.), Casey Tierney (San Jose, Calif.), and Shirin Tooloee (San Jose, Calif.) – for their hard work and dedication to the program over the past four years.

The Bears' three seniors accounted for all 10 of the team's service aces with Cairo landing a match-high four aces.

In set one, Harvard grabbed a 13-9 edge and extended its lead to 20-12 before Brown used a 4-0 run to cut the margin to 20-16. The Crimson maintained the advantage in an eventual 25-18 set win. In the frame, Tooloee totaled four digs and three kills.

Brown responded with a 25-20 victory in set two, tying the match at one set apiece. The Bears used four consecutive points to pull ahead at 19-14 and did not allow the visitors to come any closer than four points the rest of the way. Cairo came up with six digs in the period.

The two teams stood tied at 6-6 early in set three before Harvard outscored Brown 19-6 over the remainder of the set to take the frame 25-12 and pull ahead 2-1 in sets. Cairo chalked up eight digs in the stanza.

Brown rebounded in the fourth frame, taking the set's first six points. After Harvard used a 10-3 run to snag an 18-12 advantage, the Bears countered with five unanswered points to slice the margin to 18-17. Still trailing 23-21, the hosts won the frame's last four points to win the set 25-23. In the set, Stillwell and Moriconi each terminated on four kills, Tooloee notched six digs and three kills, and Cairo made six digs.

In a fifth set that witnessed six ties and three lead changes, the Bears rallied from an 8-6 deficit at the switch to take the final set, 15-13. With the set knotted at 11-11, Brown won four of the match's last six points. Moriconi tallied four kills in the frame while Chow charted six assists.

For Harvard, Grace Roberts Burbank compiled a match-high 22 kills, Erin McCarthy handed out a match-best 47 assists, and Anna Uhr tied for the match high with 24 digs.

The Bears split the season series with the Crimson as Harvard topped Brown 3-1 on Oct. 13 in Cambridge, Mass.

Next, Brown concludes its season with road matches at Columbia (Nov. 10, 7:00 p.m.) and at Cornell (Nov. 11, 5:00 p.m.).

Video of all Brown volleyball home contests and all Ivy League matches, home and away, will be broadcast live on the Ivy League Network.