WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University volleyball team looked to pick up some momentum headed into their next conference weekend tonight as the Judges defeated St. Joseph's (Maine) College in three sets, 25-19, 27-25, 25-7. With the win, the Judges improve to 5-9 on the season, while the Monks fall to 4-9.
The Judges had to rally several times in the first two sets. In the opening set, SJC took an early 5-1 lead, and the Monks went ahead, 14-7, on a block by Isabel Philbrick. Brandeis senior Stephanie Borr (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) stopped the visitors' momentum with a kill. The Judges responded by scoring the next nine points in a row on the serve of sophomore setter Ines Grom-Mansenecal (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wyoming). Another Borr kill made it 16-14 in favor of the Judges, and Brandeis never trailed again in taking it 25-19.
The second set was one of runs and back-and-forth play, featuring 10 ties and six lead changes. Brandeis scored the first three points of the set, but SJC rallied with eight in a row on the serve of Sam Holland. The visitors were still ahead, 10-6, when rookie Lara Verstovsek (Bellaire, Texas/Episcopal) took to the service line following a kill by senior Kaisa Newberg (Reno, Nev./Sage Ridge School). Verstovsek served eight in a row, including three service aces and three kills by Borr. The Judges were still on top at 17-13, but SJC rallied with five in a row on the serve of Hanna Holden to reclaim an 18-17 lead. The Monks got within two points of winning the set at 23-22. Brandeis answered with two in a row and eventually won five of the last seven points, converting their third set point on an error by SJC by a 27-25 score.
The third set was all Brandeis, as the Judges hit .350 (8 kills, 1 error, 20 attempts), and had two five-point runs early in the set before closing the match on seven-straight points served by senior libero Kaitlyn Oh (Santa Clara, Calif./Cupertino) to take it 25-7.
Borr led the Judges with 13 kills, tying a career-high set during her rookie season. Borr converted at a .367 clip (13 K-2 E-30 TA). She also had five service aces to finish with a team-best 18 points. Verstovsek added eight kills and five more service aces for 13 points. She also had 10 digs. Grom-Mansenecal contributed 22 assists and nine digs, while Oh had a team-high 14 digs.
SJC was paced by Jordan Ingoldsby with six kills, while Holden added 11 assists. Sierra Burns led all players with 16 digs.
Brandeis is back in action on Sunday when they host the second of three University Athletic Association Round Robin tournaments. The Judges will meet #16 NYU at 10 a.m. and #23 Washington University at 2 p.m.