DANBURY, Conn. (info taken from a WCSU press release) -- The Brandeis volleyball team emerged victorious from the 2012 Western Invitational at Western Connecticut State University today, as the Judges finished the tournament with a 3-0 record. On the second day of competition, coach Michelle Kim's squad escaped with a 3-2 win over Johnson and Wales and then came back from a set down to defeat host WCSU, 3-1. Junior outside hitter Si-Si Hensley (Fullerton, Calif./Troy) was named tournament MVP, while sophomore defensive specialist Elsie Bernaiche (Plantsville, Conn./Southington) was also an all-tournament selection.
In the most competitive match of the entire tournament, Brandeis twice bounced back from a set down against Johnson and Wales as three of the sets were decided by the minimum two points. The set scores were 26-28, 25-18, 24-26, 25-23, 15-11. Offensively, the Judges were led by a pair of younger faces, with sophomore OH Liz Hood (Albuquerque, N.M./Albuquerque Acad.) registering 16 kills and rookie middle blocker Maggie Engeler (Sandusky, Ohio/St. Mary Central Catholic) adding 13. Bernaiche finished with 28 digs, while junior setter Yael Einhorn (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East) just missed the half-century club with 49 assists. JWU had a fine performance from Allysa Drapeau, who turned in a triple-double with 12 kills, 19 digs and 17 assists.
In the final match of the tournament, the Judges again rallied from a deficit, but this time they did not fall behind again in defeating the host Colonials of Western Connecticut State, 22-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-21. Western took set one over Brandeis by scoring the final three points in a game that was tightly contested throughout. Brandeis turned the tables on the Colonials in set two by scoring the final three points of the game for a 25-21 victory. In set three, an 11-0 run by Brandeis turned an 8-5 Western lead into a 16-8 lead for the Judges. Brandeis pushed the advantage to 23-13 before Western mounted a 6-1 run to close the gap. Brandeis finally closed out a game-point, taking a 2-1 lead in the match. In game four, Brandeis again scored in streaks with a 7-0 run turning a 12-9 deficit into a 16-12 lead. Trailing 21-19, Brandeis went on a 6-0 run to close out the game and the match, finishing the weekend with a perfect 3-0 record.
Statistically, Hood had the top offensive performance with 15 kills, but Hensley and Einhorn each recorded double-doubles. Hensley had 11 kills and 20 digs, while Einhorn added 37 assists and 18 digs. Bernaiche led all players defensively with 24 digs.
Brandeis returns to action on Wednesday evening with their home opener at 7 p.m. against Wellesley College.