Volleyball caps UAA Round Robin with win over Rochester

Si-Si Hensley '14 (photo by Sportspix.biz/Mike Broglio)

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Brandeis University volleyball team posted a 1-2 record this weekend at the first University Athletic Association round robin of the season at Case Western Reserve University. The Judges capped the weekend with a 3-0 sweep of the University of Rochester (25-20, 25-18, 25-23) on Sunday morning. On Saturday, Brandeis suffered 3-0 losses at the hands of 18th-ranked Chicago (15-25, 15-25, 16-25) and No. 9  Washington University (14-25, 10-25, 17-25). The Judges' record now stands at 9-12 overall, 1-2 in the UAA. 

In the win over Rochester, Brandeis never trailed in the first two sets. Coach Michelle Kim's squad jumped out to a 16-7 lead in the first set thanks to fine serving by junior MB Carly Gutner-Davis (Del Mar, Calif./Canyon Crest Acad.). Gutner-Davis served the first four points of the set, then helped the Judges increase their advantage by serving six in a row. She finished with three service aces in the set.

The second set was tied at 5-5 when the Judges scored 15 of the next 20 points, doubling the Yellowjackets at 20-10 on a kill by sophomore setter Maggie Swenson (East Lyme, Conn./East Lyme). Swenson also helped Brandeis snap the 5-5 tie with two assists and three aces in a 7-0 run.

Brandeis faced their first deficit of the match in the third set, trailing by as many as five points early on. The Judges didn't regain the lead until late. Trailing 21-18, Brandeis scored seven of the last nine points. They took advantage of six UR errors in that span - five attacks and one service - to close out the match. The lone earned point in the run came on an Elsie Bernaiche (Plantsville, Conn./Southington) service ace.

For the match, Brandeis had one fewer total kill, 30-29, but committed eight fewer attack errors and four fewer service errors, while serving three more aces. The Judges owned a .127 hitting percentage to just .048 for the Yellowjackets. Junior OH Liz Hood (Albuquerque, N.M./Albuquerque Acad.) led all players with 10 kills and a .276 hitting percentage (10 K-2 E-29 TA). She also had two block assists. Bernaiche had a match-high 21 digs, while senior OH Si-Si Hensley (Fullerton, Calif./Troy) had seven kills and 15 digs. Swenson finished with 25 assists.

On Saturday, Brandeis opened UAA play against #18 Chicago and the Judges were unable to overcome the Maroons' balance. Hood led all players with 13 kills, and Hensley had seven, but that accounted for 20 of the team's 28 kills in the match. Chicago, on the other hand had two players with eight kills and another with nine as they finished with 37 kills. UC also committed just six attacking errors, while Brandeis tripled that amount, as the hitting percentages were .356 for Chicago and .115 for the Judges.  The Maroons also had strong net play, with 12 team blocks to just one for Brandeis.

Against UC, in addition to Hood - who also had 11 digs for Brandeis's only double-double of the weekend - and Hensley, senior setter Yael Einhorn (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East) recorded 25 assists in her first action since mid-September. Bernaiche also had a match-high with 14 digs. 

Brandeis followed that match up with an even tougher Washington University squad, who held them to 14 kills and forced 25 attacking errors. The Bears had 41 kill and just nine errors on their part (.390 hitting percentage). Hood, Gutner-Davis and Summer Koop (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris Central) each had four kills to top the Judges, while Bernaiche managed a match-best 12 digs on the defensive end. 

Brandeis has just one match, next Thursday at Emerson College, before returning to UAA play on October 19 and 20 at WashU. The Judges will take on No. 2 Emory, Carnegie Mellon, Case Western Reserve, and New York University in two weeks.