Volleyball drops four at second UAA round robin

Brandeis will be the seventh seed at the upcoming UAA championships (photo by Jan Volk)
Brandeis will be the seventh seed at the upcoming UAA championships (photo by Jan Volk)

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Brandeis University volleyball team dropped its final four University Athletic Association matches this weekend at Washington University in St. Louis. The Judges dropped to 9-17 overall and 1-6 in the UAA. Brandeis has earned the seventh seed at the 2013 UAA Championships, which will be hosted at the Gosman Athletic Center on Nov. 8-9.

The Judges were swept, 3-0, by Carnegie Mellon, Case Western Reserve and fourth-ranked Emory before taking a set in a 3-1 loss to NYU.

Brandeis's best match came in their final showdown of the tournament against the rival Violets on Sunday.  The Judges owned a 17-14 lead in the first set before NYU scored 11 of the final 13 points to take a 25-19 victory. In the second set , NYU trailed 5-2 early before rattling off six straight points to take the lead. The Violets' edge would be as large as nine points at 17-8 before the Judges made a run of their own, scoring eight of the next nine points. The Judges used terrific serving to get back into the set, with a pair of aces from sophomore setter Maggie Swenson (E. Lyme, Conn./E. Lyme)  and rookie right-side Jessica Kaufman (Tucson, Ariz./Cienaga) in the run. Junior OH Liz Hood (Albuquerque, N.M./Albuquerque Acad.) had two kills and NYU had two errors as the Judges fought back. Unfortunately, they could not get over the hump, falling 25-20, in the second.

In the third set, the Violets got off to a quick start, opening up a 4-0 lead. The squads traded points on all but one of the next 15 points played, giving NYU a 12-7 edge. The Violets let Brandeis back into the set at that point with errors on five points in a row, tying it at 12-12. NYU bounced back with a 5-1 run, forcing Brandeis coach Michelle Kim to call a timeout. Her charges responded, rattling off five in a row of their own on a kill from sophomore Summer Koop (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris Central), two by  Si-Si Hensley (Fullerton, Calif./Troy) and two Elsie Bernaiche (Plantsville, Conn./Southington) service aces, the last of which put Brandeis ahead, 18-17. Once again the teams traded points for a stretch of 10 out of 11 points, but a Hood kill gave the Judges a set point at 24-22. NYU answered with a pair of kills by Allie Williams, but Koop gave Brandeis their second set point, and the Judges forced an NYU error to take the third set, 26-24. Unfortunately, the Judges were unable to get their game on track for the fourth set, as NYU scored 13 points in a row to turn an early 3-2 deficit into a 15-3 lead, and the Violets rolled to a 25-7 victory to close out the match.

The tight first three sets saw Brandeis hit at a .213 clip (38 K, 13 E, 113 TA) and NYU at .228 (42 K, 14 E, 123 TA), but in the fourth, the Violets converted 15 of 34 attacks with just four errors, while Brandeis had just two kills and three errors in 25 attempts.

For the match, Hood was Brandeis's team-high with 16 kills and a .364 percentage. Bernaiche had 27 digs and four service aces, while Swenson added 32 assists and nine digs.

Earlier in the day on Sunday, the Judges had the misfortune to run into an Emory team coming off its first UAA loss of the tournament, to Chicago the night before. The fourth-ranked Eagles defeated Brandeis, 25-6, 25-15, 25-11. Koop was the standout for Brandeis, finishing with seven kills – one shy of her career-high – and a .500 hitting percentage (7 K, 1 E, 12 TA). Bernaiche's 13 digs were a match-high.

On Saturday afternoon, the Judges fell to Carnegie Mellon (25-15, 25-16, 25-12) and Case Western Reserve (25-20, 25-19, 25-19). Against CMU, Hood had 10 kills, second-most in the match, while Hensley's 14 digs led all players. Hensley also swung at a .375 clip (6 K, 0 E, 16 TA). Swenson tied for match-high honors with 25 assists.  In their loss to Case – who is coached by Karen Chambers Farrell '93 – Hood led Brandeis with nine kills, while Hensley had eight and another match-high with 14 digs. The Judges owned a 16-12 lead in the second set against the Spartans, but Case closed on a 13-3 string. The third set was tied at 14-14 before Case ended with 11 of the final 16 points.

Brandeis returns to action next weekend at the Hall of Fame Invitational at Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges. Their schedule is yet to be determined.