WORCESTER, Mass. – Brown University volleyball won the Holy Cross Invitational with a 3-1 (25-21, 26-24,16-25, 25-20) victory over the host Crusaders on Saturday afternoon at the Hart Center, starting the year with a 3-0 record for the first time since 2008.
The Bears (3-0) took a 2-0 set lead behind a win in extra points in set two before closing out the Crusaders (1-4) in four frames and claiming the tournament title after defeating Fairleigh Dickinson and Manhattan on Friday.
Brown generated points in the match through a balanced attack and 15.0 total team blocks as five different Bears tallied seven or more kills. Senior Shirin Tooloee (San Jose, Calif.) posted nine kills and 12 digs while freshman Eliza Grover (Menlo Park, Calif.) notched nine kills on .304 hitting.
Sophomore Jacqueline Jacobs (Atlanta, Ga.) totaled eight kills and a team-high seven blocks, freshman Gabrielle Moriconi (Naples, Fla.) registered eight kills and five digs, and junior Sabrina Stillwell (Laguna Beach, Calif.) compiled seven kills and five blocks.
Senior libero Melissa Cairo (Hillsborough, Calif.) contributed 23 digs for her first match this season with 20 or more digs. Junior Elisa Merten (Woodside, Calif.) posted 17 assists and six digs, and freshman Bailie Salk (Tiburon, Calif.) charted 15 assists and five digs.
Grover, Merten, and Moriconi all earned Holy Cross Invitational All-Tournament Team honors with Grover garnering Holy Cross Invitational MVP accolades.
In the first set, Brown took leads of 10-6 and 14-8 in the first half of the frame. Holy Cross came within 21-19 late in the set, but the Bears won four of the last six points to claim a 25-21 set win. Jacobs and Cairo tallied four kills and seven digs respectively in the period.
Holding a 14-13 lead in set two, Brown used a 9-1 run to gain a 23-14 margin before eventually pulling out a 26-24 set win in extra points. Grover, Tooloee, and Jacobs each had three kills in the frame, and Cairo came up with eight digs.
Holy Cross staved off elimination with a 25-16 victory in set three. The two teams stood tied at 13-13 prior to a 6-2 spurt from the Crusaders that put them up 19-15. The hosts claimed the set's last six points to pull within 2-1 in sets.
Brown closed the match with a 25-20 win in set four. Trailing 10-8, the Bears rattled off seven straight points to grab a 15-10 advantage. Holy Cross came within 16-15, but a 4-0 streak from the visitors gave Brown a cushion it would not relinquish. Moriconi landed four kills in the final frame.
For Holy Cross, Katie Kerins posted a match-high 18 kills, Kathleen Philo distributed a match-best 31 assists, and Sophie VanSeveren made 22 digs.
Next, Brown plays at Bryant's Hampton Inn-vitational with matches against Stony Brook (Sept. 8, 6:00 p.m.), Manhattan (Sept. 9, 10:00 a.m.), and Bryant (Sept. 9, 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.