Volleyball falls to #22 Babson, Endicott on Homecoming

Brandeis volleyball poses with Team IMPACT teammate Niamh Gagnon before the match (Photo by Cayla Fernandes)
Brandeis volleyball poses with Team IMPACT teammate Niamh Gagnon before the match (Photo by Cayla Fernandes)

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University volleyball team dropped a pair of matches to top regional teams today, falling to #22-ranked Babson, 3-0 (22-25, 8-25, 20-25) before extending Endicott College to five sets (25-21, 15-25, 21-25, 25-21, 7-15). The Judges drop to 5-14 on the season, while Babson finishes the day at 15-3 and Endicott improves to 12-7.

VS BABSON (22-25, 8-25, 20-25)

Against the Beavers, Brandeis battled back from a 17-9 deficit in the first set with six straight points on the serve of senior Talia Freund (La Jolla, Calif./La Jolla) to get within 17-15. After a service error, the Judges got the ball right back on a Babson ball handling error, and the Judges scored four more in a row to take a 19-18 lead on an Ella Perreira (Redondo Beach, Calif. / Rolling Hills Prep) service ace. Babson answered with seven of the set's final 10 points to take it, 25-22. The Beavers had little trouble in the second set, hitting .452 (16 K-2 E-31 TA) while holding Brandeis in the negative in taking the set, 25-8. The Judges had the upper hand in the early going of the third set, leading by as many as five points at 12-7 after a Stephanie Borr (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) kill. The lead was still four at 16-12 after a Babson attack error, but the visitors closed the set with a 13-4 run to close out the match, 25-20.

For the match, Brandeis had nine different players record kills, but none with more than six. Leading the way was senior middle blocker Kaisa Newberg (Reno, Nev. / Sage Ridge School) who had six kills and and a block. Rookie outside hitter Rita Lai (Sugar Land, Texas / Clements) added five kills and a team-high four blocks. Senior libero Kaitlyn Oh (Santa Clara, Calif./Cupertino) had 13 digs, while sophomore setter Ines Grom-Mansenecal (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wyoming) had 10 assists.

VS. ENDICOTT (25-21, 15-25, 21-25, 25-21, 7-15)

In the second match of the day for the Judges – after Endicott upset Babson in five sets  - the Judges pushed the Gulls to another five-setter, but the visitors pulled it out, winning the fifth set, 15-7.

Brandeis jumped out to the 1-0 lead with a 25-21 win in the first set by getting off to a hot start. The Judges went ahead, 10-4, thanks to back-to-back blocks by junior Amelia Oppenheimer (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands) and Newberg. Endicott rallied to tie the set at 16-all on an error by Brandeis, and after the teams traded points, Oppenheimer and Borr registered kills to make it 19-17 for Brandeis. The Judges never looked back in taking the set, 25-21. Seven Judges had kills in the set, paced by Verstovsek's five. In the second set, Endicott scored the first six points and never looked back en route to a 25-15 win. The third set was a back-and-forth affair, with EC taking the first four points, but Brandeis battling back to tie it at 5-all. Neither team could establish any momentum until later in the set, when, tied at 15-15, the Gulls scored four in a row on the serve of Amanda Gilbert and held on for the 25-21 win. The forth set went in a similar fashion, when an 8-8 tie went in the Judges' favor with a 9-4 run, as a pair of Endicott errors made it 17-12, Brandeis. The Judges never trailed again, taking it, 25-21, and forcing the decisive fifth set. In the fifth, the visitors never trailed, going ahead, 5-1, and holding on for the 15-7 win. The Gulls hit .357 in the final set (7 K-2 E-14 TA) while holding Brandeis in the negative.

Brandeis was paced in the second match by Verstovsek, who had a team-high 13 kills and added five blocks (one solo). Oppenheimer and Newberg each added six kills, while Borr had five. The defense was equally balanced, as Pereira had 10 digs and Oh and Borr had nine each. The Judges were outstanding at the net with a season-high 13 blocks, led by six each from Newburg (two solo) and Lai (zero solo). Grom-Mansenecal had 22 assists.

Brandeis returns to action on Sunday, October 17th, with their final two UAA matches against the University of Chicago and the University of Rochester. The matches will be played at Emory in Atlanta.