November 2, 2012

Volleyball places seventh at UAAs with losses to Chicago and Rochester

ATLANTA, Ga. -- The Brandeis University volleyball team dropped its two matches at the 2012 University Athletic Association tournament at Emory University today to finish in seventh place. In the quarterfinals, the seventh-seeded Judges fell by a 3-0 score to the 16th-ranked and second-seeded University of Chicago. The Maroons won the match with set scores of 25-18, 25-13, 25-21. In the consolation semifinals, Brandeis fell to the sixth seed from the University of Rochester, also in three sets, with similar scores of 25-17, 25-19, 25-21. With NYU having dropped out of the tournament because of Hurricane Sandy, the Judges will not have a seventh-place match and finish the 2012 season with a 19-13 record, 1-8 in the UAA. 

In the opener against Chicago, Brandeis never held a lead in any set. The closest they came was a 3-3 tie in the first set. In the second set, the Judges were within two points at 8-6 after a kill by senior Lauren Berens (Boulder, Colo./Fairview), but UC answered with a 6-1 run to pull away. After falling behind early in the third, 5-1, the Judges clawed their way back into the set late, when a Becca Fischer (San Antonio, Texas/Clark) kill made it 23-21. Chicago called a timeout, and the Maroons' Maggie Vaughan got a block assist and kill on the last two points to close out the match.

The Judges were paced offensively by sophomore OH Liz Hood (Albuquerque, N.M./Albuquerque Acad.), who had 10 kills to lead all players, while Berens finished with eight kills and just one error in 18 attempts for a .389 hitting percentage. No other Brandeis player had more than three kills. Junior setter Yael Einhorn (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East) finished with her ninth double-double of the season, collecting 24 assists and 11 digs, while sophomore libero Elsie Bernaiche (Planstville, Conn./Southington) led the Judges with 18 digs. 

Vaughn led Chicago with eight kills, while four other players had five or six. The Maroons also had six team blocks to just two for the Judges.

Against the Yellowjackets, Brandeis opened strong, taking an early 5-2 lead in the first set. UR rallied to tie the set at 7-7, and it was still tied at 10-10 when Rochester scored four of the next five points to take a 14-11 edge they would not relinquish, finishing on a 15-7 run. The 'Jackets led wire-to-wire in the second set, but the Judges pushed them in set three. After falling behind early, 3-1 and 5-2, Brandeis rallied to knot the score at 7-7. UR went on a 7-3 run to go back up by four at 14-10, stretching the lead to six at 18-12 before the Judges made another push. Three kills by Hood, one by Berens and service aces by Einhorn and Bernaiche got Brandeis to within one at 19-20. Rochester's Kelly Mulrey snapped the run, and the Yellowjackets closed the set with a 5-2 run to advance to the fifth-place match tomorrow.

With eight kills, Hood tied for team-high honors against Rochester with junior Si-Si Hensley (Fullerton, Calif./Troy). Hensley also led the Judges with 13 digs, while Einhorn racked up her second double-double of the tournament and 10th of the season with 27 assists and 10 digs. 

UR had three players reach double figures in kills, with 11 each for Mulrey and Alma Guevera and 10 for Savannah Benton. The 'Jackets also had eight service aces to just two for the Judges. 

Brandeis will learn if they will participate in the postseason, hoping for and ECAC Division III New England tournament for the first time since 2009 on Monday afternoon.