Judges take #13 Tufts to the limit in the first set before falling in three

Kaitlyn Oh '22 (photo by Sportspix.com)
Kaitlyn Oh '22 (photo by Sportspix.com)

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University volleyball team had a set point in the first set against 13th-ranked Tufts tonight, but the Jumbos rallied to take it, 26-24, and the visitors went on to complete a three-set sweep. Full set scores were 26-24, 25-10, 25-18. The Judges fall to 4-15 overall, while the Jumbos improve to 17-0.

Facing their third ranked opponent in their last four matches, the Judges trailed 18-11 midway through the first set. They battled back with an 8-1 run, tying the match at 19-all, with senior Emma Bartlett (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) registering two kills and a block assist in the run. The Jumbos got the momentum back on a Brigid Bell kill, but Bartlett had her third of the set, followed by a Tufts error that gave Brandeis a 21-20 lead, their first since 1-0. Bell again got the side out for the visitors, but a block by Brandeis juniors Belle Scott (Portland, Ore./Oregon Episcopal School) and Marissa Borgert (Blaine, Minn./Spring Lake Park) followed by a Tufts error gave Brandeis a two-point cushion, 23-21.

A Brandeis attack error and a service ace by Tufts' Janelle Yarwood knotted the set at 23-23, but Yarwood gave Brandeis set point at 24-23 with a service error. The Jumbos avoided losing just their seventh set all season thanks to a Cate Desler kill, and the visitors forced two Brandeis errors to avoid falling behind, 26-24.

The Jumbos led wire-to-wire in the second set, winning the first three points and never looking back. They led by margins of 9-3 and ran off eight points in a row after taking a 15-8 lead to put the set out of reach. In the third, there were three early ties and one lead change, but the Jumbos scored four in a row with the set tied at 6-all, thanks in part to two Sophia Acker service aces that made it 10-6. The Judges never got closer than three points the rest of the way.

Offensively, Brandeis was led by Bartlett and rookie outside hitter Amelia Oppenheimer (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands), who each had seven kills. Borgert had a fine all-around effort with 17 assists, five kills and no errors in eight attacks for a .625 percentage, plus five digs and four blocks defensively. Bartlett also had four blocks. Sophomore libero Kaitlyn Oh (Santa Clara, Calif./Cupertino) had 11 digs and three service aces, both tied for match-high honors.

Tufts had three players between seven and 10 kills, let by Desler and Jennifer Ryan with 10 each. Bell had eight and Maddie Stewart had seven. Rachel Furash had 29 assists for the Jumbos, while Stephanie Lee tied Oh with 11 digs.

Brandeis returns to action with two University Athletic Association matches at Case Western Reserve on Sunday, taking on Washington University and NYU. Tufts plays in the New England Challenge against Springfield on Friday night with a showdown against #22 Babson looming on Saturday.