Volleyball Outlasts Cornell to Take Five-Set Decision, 3-2

Volleyball Outlasts Cornell to Take Five-Set Decision, 3-2

ITHACA, N.Y. – Senior Payton Smith recorded 13 kills on .619 hitting as Brown University volleyball twice rallied from a deficit in sets to upend Cornell University, 3-2 (11-25, 25-23, 24-26, 25-21, 15-13), on Friday night at Newman Arena.

In their first Ivy League road match of the year, the Bears (3-9, 1-1 Ivy) came back from set deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to capture a win over the host Big Red (5-6, 0-2 Ivy).

Smith (Atherton, Calif.) led the Bears' offense while junior Shirin Tooloee (San Jose, Calif.) tallied 11 kills and eight digs, and freshman Makena Ehlert (Orange County, Calif.) posted 11 kills.

Junior libero Melissa Cairo (Hillsborough, Calif.) totaled 24 digs, her third match this season with 20 or more digs. At the setter spot, senior Sarah Lucenti (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and sophomore Elisa Merten (Woodside, Calif.) dished out 23 and 16 assists apiece.

In the opening set, Brown remained within 8-7 of Cornell early in the frame. The Bears stayed within striking distance at 14-10 before the Big Red closed the period on an 11-1 run for the 25-11 win. Smith landed three kills, and Cairo had four digs in the stanza.

The two sides went toe to toe in set two with Brown emerging with a 25-23 victory in the frame. Neither team held a lead larger than two points in a period that saw 15 ties. The Bears won the set behind four consecutive points to conclude the frame, including a pair of blocks from junior Casey Tierney  (San Jose, Calif.) and freshman Jacqueline Jacobs (Atlanta, Ga.). In the set, Stillwell led the team with four kills, and Cairo added five digs.

Brown jumped out to leads of 6-0 and 12-3 in the beginning stages of the third frame. Cornell pulled within 15-11 on an 8-3 run, but Brown still held a four-point lead at 21-17. The Big Red used a 5-2 spurt to cut its deficit to 23-22 before the Bears gained set point at 24-22. The hosts then scored the set's last four points, taking their first lead in the frame on the way to the 26-24 overtime win. In the period, Cairo came up with 10 digs, and Tooloee posted four kills.

The Bears grabbed leads of 11-5, 17-8, and 20-11 en route to a 25-21 win in the fourth set, pushing back against a late run from the Big Red. Ehlert paced the visitors in the set with six kills, helping force a decisive fifth set.

Brown rallied in the fifth set turning an 8-6 deficit at the switch into an 11-8 lead with five unanswered points. Cornell knotted the set at 12-12 before the Bears won three of the frame's last four points. Smith terminated on four kills in the final stanza.

For Cornell, Maddy Sroufe and Kit McCarty recorded 18 and 17 kills respectively while Alyssa Phelps logged a double-double on 31 assists and 10 digs.

Next, Brown plays at Columbia tomorrow at 5 p.m. prior to hosting Harvard (Oct. 7, 7 p.m.) and Dartmouth (Oct. 8, 5 p.m.) next weekend.

Video of all Brown volleyball home contests and all Ivy League matches, home and away, will be broadcast live on ILDN.TV/BROWN.