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Volleyball: Errors, inconsistency doom Brandeis against Wellesley

By zaronow

Section: Sports

September 12, 2008

After soaring to new heights following their tri-match victory in Cambridge over the weekend, the Judges plummeted back to earth as errors and sloppy play left them at the mercy of Wellesley 3-1 for their home opener.

“We just didn’t play very well,” Brandeis Coach Michelle Kim said. “We practiced servicing the other day, but our passing was just off, and serving is, you know, sometimes not our focus, and we – look, lost focus on the serve. The last game, the last set there we lost by three points, and we made five service errors in that game, so that’s a big difference right there.”

The night proved to be a long one in the first set when the Blue jumped out to an 8-2 lead. Comeback efforts by Brandeis brought the deficit to within two, but Wellesley proved to be too much and prevailed 25-20. The second set started closer, but a six point rally, including three service aces from Wellesley’s Jessica Duff, turned an 8-7 nail-biter into a 14-7 head dangler. Wellesley went on to coast to a 25-14 win and a commanding 2-0 lead.

The Judges came to play though in the third set.

“After the first two games, we said, ‘Look, this team isn’t that good, and we’re better than this, so let’s play like it, let’s show our home crowd,” Lorraine Wingenbach ’09 explained.

The Judges built up a 23-14 lead in the third set. A furious Wellesley rally scored seven straight to tie the set up at 24, but the Judges managed to claim the win on a service ace from Paige Blasco ’11. The Blue reasserted themselves in the fourth set by jumping out to a 5-1 lead, but Brandeis responded, eventually claiming a 16-15 lead. However, Wellesley scored four straight, and though the Judges came within one, the gap proved too great to traverse, and Wellesley walked away with match, 25-21.

Paige Blasco recorded a double-double for the Judges, leading the offense with 12 kills and provided 10 digs. Nicole Smith ’11 chipped in with 10 points of her own while Wingenbach and Abby Blasco ’11 led the defense with 18 digs each. Abby also had 33 assists.

For the visiting Blue, NEWMAC Player of the Week Alice Cummings (16 kills, 18 digs) and Jessica Duff (10 kills, 20 digs) paced the team while Samantha Du assisted with 13 kills and libero Emily Peters had a match high 21 digs. Victoria Peng provided 43 assists in the winning effort.

The defeat comes after Brandeis triumphed in their first tri-match of the season, surpassing Johnson & Wales 3-1 thanks to 18 digs from Abby Blasco and a balanced attack led by Piera Carfagno ’10 (nine kills) and Wingenbach (eight kills) and stunning hosts MIT 3-2. Paige Blasco (17 kills, 11 digs) and Wingenbach (12 kills, 20 digs) led that winning effort.

“You know, the MIT game we passed really well, and we served them tough, and we played great defense, we picked up our defense a lot against MIT,” Coach Kim said. Kim later went on to say about the home opener, “I think if we played with better passing and better serving, we could have had a chance at beating them [Wellesley]… we’re right there with them, and I think our players realized that we just didn’t have our A-game today, and I think we all know that if we had our A-game that we would have had them.”

Brandeis will look to correct course at home as they host the Judges Invitational September 12 and 13, starting with Smith College at 4:00 pm today. After the weekend, they continue to defend the home turf against Endicott on September 18 at 7:00 pm. The Judges will get a boost as Violette Ruggiero ’09 will make her season debut today.

After a tough loss made worse by the errors and the fact that this was a team the Judges could have defeated, this weekend will prove to be a good chance for the Judges to reclaim their turf and keep their season on the right track.

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