PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Freshman Payton Smith (Atherton, Calif.) cracked 10 kills to pace the Brown volleyball team to a 3-1 win (33-31, 24-26, 25-22, 25-18) over Hofstra in the opening match of the Temple Invitational at McGonigle Gym on Friday. The Bears, winners of three of their last four contests, improve to 3-5 overall, while the Pride drop to 7-5 on the season.
Smith posted a .500 hitting percentage to go with two block assists, while senior Thea Derrough (La Jolla, Calif.) registered nine kills on 19 attempts. Junior Maddie Lord (La Jolla, Calif.) and senior Alexandra Rieckhoff (Laguna Beach, Calif.) each picked up eight kills thanks to precise setting by freshman Sarah Lucenti (Manhattan Beach, Cailf.) and junior Maryl Vanden Bos (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.), who had 24 and 16 assists, respectively. Junior Kathryn Conner (Newport Beach, Calif.) protected the floor with 18 digs and senior Amanda Nickel (Corona Del Mar, Calif.) played tough defense with three block assists.
Kelsie Wills led all attackers with 17 kills and paced a Hofstra squad that saw three players with double-digit kills. Despite recording 60 kills to Brown's 46, the Pride felt the sting of 32 attack errors and 16 service miscues.
Set one came down to the wire as Hostra rallied from five points behind to force extra play before the Bears finally prevailed, 33-31. The two sides exchanged blows all the way to a 31-31 tie before one of six Pride service errors followed by a Lord kill pushed Brown in front by two. Rieckhoff and Derrough led Brown with three kills each in the set and kept their team ahead despite a struggling Bears offense that made 12 errors to match 12 kills.
Brown stormed ahead to an 8-2 lead in the second set to prompt a Pride timeout, which slowed the Bears momentarily but could not contain a 4-0 run that put Brown ahead 14-5. The Bears led by as many as 10 points but a persistent Hofstra squad battled back to take a 26-24 decision.
A closely-contended third set would not slip away from the Bears this time, as Smith logged a kill to snap a 21-21 tie and the following Hofstra setting error gave Brown just enough room to pull out a 25-22 win on Rieckhoff's deciding spike.
It would be the Pride that relinquished the lead in the final set when an 11-10 advantage dwindled to an 18-13 deficit after the Bears snapped off an 8-3 run powered by three straight Vanden Bos aces. Wills attempted to keep Hofstra afloat in the final stretch with two kills, but the Pride could not keep pace with Smith and Lord as the Bears closed it out, 25-18.
Brown hits the court again tomorrow in doubleheader action against Delaware State at 10 a.m. and Temple at 1 p.m.