Volleyball falls to No. 2 Emory, host NYU at UAA championships

Liz Hood '15 and Si-Si Hensley '14 (Photos by SportsPix)

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The Brandeis volleyball dropped its opening match  at the 2011 University Athletic Association championships to top-seeded and second-ranked Emory University, 3-0, at the Coles Sports Center at New York University. Set scores were 25-22, 25-18, 25-11. With the loss, the Judges fall to 9-20 on the campaign, while the Eagles improve to 33-3.

The Brandeis offense was paced by a pair of outside hitters. Rookie Liz Hood (Albuquerque, N.M./Albuquerque Acad.) and sophomore Si-Si Hensley (Fullerton, Calif./Troy) each had eight kills, but the rest of the squad only combined for four kills. Hensley was the only player with a positive hitting percentage at .261 (8 K-2 E-23 TA). Sophomore Elsie Bernaiche (Plantville, Conn./Southington) was the squad's defensive leader with 13 digs, while sophomore setter Yael Einhorn (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East) had 19 assists.

In the consolation semifinals, the Judges fell to host NYU in a marathon first set, 28-26, before dropping the next two, 25-19, 25-14, to drop to 9-21. Hood had nine kills and Hensley added another eight. Junior middle blocker Becca Fischer (San Antonio, Texas/Clark) had a nice performance with four kills and five blocks (two solo). Bernaiche tallied a match-high 21 digs, while Hensley added 11. Einhorn had 19 assists.

In the first set, the Judges trailed by as many as four points, as late as 13-9, before a 7-1 run gave them a 16-14 lead. Hood had two kills and Hensley one in the stretch, while sophomore Susan Sun (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) had a service ace to cap the run. Ahead by two at 18-16, the Judges gave up five straight to give the Violets a 21-18 edge. Hensley helped them tie the set with a kill and a block assist along with Fischer and an ace by rookie Vanessa Bodie (Grand Junction, Colo./Fruita Monument). The teams traded the lead, with NYU serving for the set twice before Brandeis rallied to go ahead, 26-25, on a Lauren Berens (Boulder, Colo./Fairview) to try to take the first. NYU's Kolby Warren responded with back-to-back kills, and an attacking error by the Judges gave the hosts the momentum.

In the second set, the Judges were ahead early, 7-3, though many of the points were the result of NYU errors. Trailing 12-8, the Violets put together a five-point run on the serve of Alex Mao to take a 13-12 lead. The teams traded one and two points at a time until Mao stepped behind the line again, and she closed out the set with another five-point run to give NYU a 25-19 set and momentum into the third. The Violets raced out to leads of 8-4 and 13-7 and never looked back in clinching the match.

The Judges close out their season with the UAA tournament seventh-place match against Carnegie Mellon Saturday morning at 10 a.m.