WALTHAM, Mass.- The Brandeis Women's volleyball team kicked off the MIT Invitational by splitting their first two matches. In a match against Roger Williams, the Judges fell 3-2 after a strong showing in the first two sets and then defeated Bates 3-1. Brandeis improves to 10-3 on the year while the Hawks move to 9-3 and the Bobcats fall to 5-5.
In their first match against Roger Williams, the Judges got off to a very strong start. Led by sophomore outside hitter Liz Hood (Albuquerque, N.M./ Albuquerque Acad.) and junior outside hitter Si-Si Hensley (Fullerton, Calif./ Troy), Brandeis took the first two sets 25-22 and 25-7. Unfortunately, Brandeis began to falter in the subsequent sets, losing the third 20-25 and the fourth 18-25, setting the stage for a final deciding set. The Judges even got out to an excellent start in the fifth set, leading by as much as 10-4 following an excellently placed kill by Hensley. Still, Brandeis just couldn't close out the match and fell 15-17 in the set, losing the match 2-3.
In their next match against Bates, the Judges again managed to start strong. This time, senior middle blocker Becca Fisher (San Antonio, Texas/ Clark) and rookie middle blocker Maddie Engeler (Sandusky, Ohio/ St. Mary Central Catholic) helped lead the attack along with Hood. Brandeis found themselves up 2-0 once again with 27-25 and 25-19 wins. Still, the Bobcats showed resilience in coming back to win the third set 27-25. However, the Judges looked to pull away in the fourth set and stifle any comeback attempts by grabbing leads as large as eight points including a 24-17 lead. Even with that healthy cushion, Bates made it interesting all the way until the end when junior setter Yael Einhorn (Cherry Hill, N.J./ Cherry Hill East) deftly placed a kill between four Bobcats to win the set 26-24 and give Brandeis the 3-1 victory.
Against the Hawks, Hood led the team with a match-high 20 kills. Hensley secured a double-double with 15 kills and 17 digs but sophomore libero Elsie Bernaiche (Plantsville, Conn./ Southington) led the Judges with a match-high 22 digs. Finally, Einhorn orchestrated the attack with a match-high 37 assists. For Roger Williams, junior outside hitter Krystie Luczynski (Kensington, Conn./ Berlin) led the team with 10 kills while rookie outside hitter Elizabeth Flaherty (Sloatsburg, N.Y./ Suffern) led the Hawks with 17 digs. Junior setter Alexa Armenti (Dix Hills, N.Y./ Half Hollow Hills West) had a team-high 32 assists.
In their match against Bates, three Judges reached double-digit kills. Fisher had a match-high 17, while Hood recorded 14 and Engeler had 10. Three Brandeis players also had double-digit digs with Bernaiche leading the team with 21 as Einhorn recorded 16 and rookie defensive specialist Amaris Brown (Brooklyn, N.Y./ Brooklyn Friends) had 10. Einhorn again orchestrated an excellent attack with a match-high 45 assists. For the Bobcats, two players reached double-digit kills. Senior middle blocker Eliza Pyne (Atherton, Calif./ Menlo School) had 13 while classmate outside hitter Nicole Russell (Boca Raton, Fla./ Pine Crest School) registered a double-double with 13 kills and 10 digs. Three other teammates reached double-digit kills with rookie libero Laryssa Schepel (Flemington, N.J./ Hunterdon Central) getting a match-high 22, rookie outside hitter Kelsey Berry (Hollis, N.H./ Hollis-Brookline) recording 16, and rookie libero Nicole Cueli (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./ Cardinal Gibbons) rounding them out with 11. Finally, the Bates offense was led by sophomore setter Tess Walther (Santa Monica, Calif./ Santa Monica) who had 38 assists.
Brandeis continues their slate of matches in the MIT Invitational on Saturday September 22nd starting at 11:00 a.m. against MIT and Mount Ida. Roger Williams faces off against Bowdoin and Wellesley while Bates has matches against Mount Ida and Springfield.