Volleyball pushes CWRU to five sets, swept by #3 Chicago at UAA Round Robin

Emma Bartlett (#7) goes for the kill (Photo by Sportspix.com)
Emma Bartlett (#7) goes for the kill (Photo by Sportspix.com)

ATLANTA, Ga. – The Brandeis University volleyball team dropped a pair of matches at the second University Athletic Association round robin of the season, held at Emory University today. The Judges dropped a five-set heartbreaker to Case Western Reserve, 25-16, 23-25, 25-16, 20-25, 16-14, in their first match, then were swept by #3-ranked Chicago, 25-14, 26-24, 25-19. The Judges' record now stands at 4-11 overall, 1-4 in the UAA.

The Case Western Reserve match was a back-and-forth affair. The Spartans used a 7-0 run early in the first set to take a 10-3 lead and never looked back to take it, 25-16. In the second, there were 11 ties and six lead changes, but Brandeis closed on a 4-1 run to even the match, 25-23.

CWRU used a 10-2 run late in the third set to turn an 11-10 deficit into a 20-13 lead and the Spartans took another 25-16 set. The Judges overcame a 16-13 deficit in the fourth, closing out the set on a 7-1 run thanks to an offensive outburst from rookie Amelia Oppenheimer (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands), who had four kills in the decisive string as Brandeis won, 25-20, to force a fifth set.

The fifth echoed the rest of the match, featuring eight ties and three lead changes. Brandeis scored the first four points of the set, but the Spartans bounced back with the next four after a timeout. The Judges were ahead, 12-10, but a pair of attacking errors followed by two kills gave CWRU two match points at 14-12. Brandeis responded on a kill by sophomore Emerson White (Lexington, Ky./Sayre) and a service ace by junior Belle Scott (Portland, Ore./Oregon Episcopal Acad.) to make it 14-all. Case Western was able to get kills on the next two points, however, to escape with the win.

Befitting a tight match, the Judges had several career-highs and double-double performances. They were led by senior Emma Bartlett (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury), who tied for match-high honors with 19 kills, two shy of her career-best, and set a new career-high with 17 digs. Oppenheimer had 13 kills, one shy of a career-high, and a collegiate-best 25 digs. Scott had 10 kills and 24 digs, another career-high.  Sophomore libero Kaitlyn Oh (Santa Clara, Calif./Cupertino) had 48 digs, eclipsing her career-best by 12, while junior Marissa Borgert (Blaine, Minn./Spring Lake Park) had a career-high 43 assists. It was Borgert's third career 40-assist match.

In the second match, the fatigued Judges went up against a Chicago team that was off on the day's first round of matches. Brandeis was able to keep their momentum up early, taking a 5-0 lead in the first set. The Maroons answered with an 8-0 run of their own and were able to keep the Judges at bay, 25-14. The Judges looked to have UC on the ropes in the second set, as they claimed a 22-8 lead, thanks to four early kills by Bartlett and three by Scott. Chicago responded with a 14-0 run to tie the set at 22-all on the serve of Katherine Wilson, who delivered three service aces, while Federicka Paulson had seven kills. A service error finally stopped the string, and the teams traded the next three points, with an Oppenheimer kill giving Brandeis set point at 24-23. Unfortunately, the Maroons won the next three in a row to complete the comeback, 26-24.

The Judges had another shot at UC in the third, leading by three as late as 16-13, but the Maroons rebounded again, closing on a 12-3 run to take the final set, 25-19.

Bartlett was the lone Brandeis player in double figures in kills with 10. Oh had 16 digs, while sophomore Maddie Lamont (El Dorado Hills, Calif. / Oak Ridge) matched her career-high with 11. Borgert finished with 21 assists.

The Judges return to action next Saturday with a non-conference tri-match at Babson with Endicott starting at 11 a.m.