SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – In their opening match of the 2021 Springfield Invitational, the Brandeis University volleyball team tried to rally from a 2-0 deficit tonight, but the Judges fell short in their efforts, dropping a 3-1 decision to the host Pride. Set scores were 10-25, 18-25, 25-19, 25-22. The Judges fall to 1-1 on the season, while Springfield improves to 2-0.
Brandeis struggled to find their footing in this one, committing 12 attacking errors in the opening set as they fell, 25-10. Springfield hit .333 in the set (10K-3E-21 TA). The Judges started to get back on track in the second set, hitting .143 (10K-6E-28TA), but the Springfield offense was still out in front at .250 (12A-4E-32 TA).
In the third set, things started to click for the Judges, as they had 13 kills and just two errors in 28 attempts for a .393 hitting percentage, the best by either team in a set during this match. They also held SC to a match-low .083 for the set (12K-9E-36 TA). Brandeis trailed 4-2 early in the third, but ran off six straight points on the serve of senior Stephanie Borr (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) to take an 8-4 lead that they never relinquished. It looked like the visitors might rally to force a fifth set when they went ahead, 9-5, early in the fourth on a service ace by sophomore Ella Pereira (Redondo Beach, Calif./Rolling Hills Prep). Brandeis led by 22-16 margin after a kill by senior Kaisa Newberg (Reno, Nev,/Sage Ridge School), but Springfield closed out the set with a 9-1 run to win the match. Camryn Bancroft had three kills – including match point – and a block in the critical run. Bancroft finished with match-highs of 16 kills and seven blocks (one solo).
For the match, rookie Lara Verstovsek (Bellaire, Texas / Episcopal) led Brandeis with a career-high 13 kills. Six of her 13 kills came in the Judges' excellent third-set performance, with five more in the fourth. Borr added nine kills, three each coming in the second and third sets. Newberg finished with seven kills and six blocks (two solo). Sophomore setter Ines Grom-Mansenecal (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wyoming) recorded her first collegiate double-double with 32 assists and 10 digs, while senior libero Kaitlyn Oh (Santa Clara, Calif./Cupertino) had 20 digs to lead all players.
Brandeis will play two more matches in the Springfield Invitational, meeting Westfield State and Keene State tomorrow.