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Women’s volleyball splits week, beating Endicott but falling to Tufts

By Hannah Vickers

Section: Sports

September 25, 2009

SPIKE: Brandeis’  Becca Fischer ‘13 (No. 9, far right) goes for a spike against Tufts University’s Caitlin Updike ‘11 (No. 8, center) and Lexi Nicholas ‘12 (No. 3, left). Brandeis would go on to lose the match 3-1.<br /><i>PHOTO BY Yuan Yao/The Hoot</i>

SPIKE: Brandeis’ Becca Fischer ‘13 (No. 9, far right) goes for a spike against Tufts University’s Caitlin Updike ‘11 (No. 8, center) and Lexi Nicholas ‘12 (No. 3, left). Brandeis would go on to lose the match 3-1.
PHOTO BY Yuan Yao/The Hoot

The Brandeis women’s volleyball team triumphed over the Endicott Gulls last Thursday night, but was unable to keep the momentum going and lost to the Tufts Jumbos on Tuesday. This was the second loss in ten days to the Jumbos who are now 7-1 on the season and on a seven game winning streak. The Judges record goes to 8-4.

The Judges took out Endicott 3-1 with set scores of 25-17, 22-25, 27-25, 25-17. Brandeis took the first set with relative ease thanks to three kills a piece from outside hitter Paige Blasco ’11 and middle blocker Becca Fischer ’13. The Judges faltered after the first though, dropping the second set 22-25 when the Gulls got on a streak of six straight aces.

Brandeis came back fighting in the third set, however, and managed to regain their lead. With the set knotted at 25 each, the Judges claimed the next two points to lead to their 27-25 set victory.

The first point out of the tie came courtesy of a kill by outside hitter Bridget McAllister ’10 after which a key block by middle blocker Nicole Smith ’11 and McAllister gave the set to Brandeis. The Judges went on to win the fourth set 25-17 and take the game. With the loss the Gulls fell to 5-3 on the season.

The Judges were led in their effort by co-captain Piera Carfagno ’10 who put up 10 kills and nine digs on the night. Paige Blasco was also a major contributor with eight kills and 17 digs while sister and co-captain Abby Blasco ’11 put in 35 assists and 10 digs along with a the highest percentage of .429.

Despite having already faced Tufts once this year, Brandeis was unable to come away from their second meeting with a victory. While the Judges picked up the first set 25-12, the dropped the next three sets 25-22, 25-22, 25-21 to suffer defeat at the hands of the Jumbos for the second time in ten days. As Coach Michelle Kim pointed out, however, Tufts is ranked as one of the best teams in the region.

The first and only set the Judges were able to claim was due in part to 11 errors by Tufts, which Brandeis was able to exploit. Three aces from defensive specialist Lauren Polinsky ’10 as well as six kills from Paige Blasco also helped gain victory in the first set. The second set was much closer and also had fewer mistakes. The Judges and Jumbos were tied at 18 each, but Tufts went on a run of 7-4 to take the set.

Brandeis kept things tight in the next set, battling back from an 8-3 deficit to take a 15-12 lead but were unable to fend of Tufts. The Jumbos went on a run, grabbing six of the next seven points to take a narrow 18-16 lead, but the Judges responded by winning the next three points and regained a 20-19 lead off a great return by libero Anna Homitsky ’13. The momentum for Brandeis petered out at that point, and Tufts was able to regain the lead and take the set by taking six out of the final eight points.

The fourth set saw a return of errors for both sides, with the two teams having 10 combined. These service errors prevented either team from building a strong offensive attack but Tufts capitalized on errors made by Brandeis later in the match to finish off the set and take the match. Smith had nine kills and one error in 15 attempts as well as three blocks to put up a .533 percentage. Paige Blasco was also a critical player with the match-high 17 kills as well as sister Abby who had her seventh double-double of the season with 27 assists and 19 digs. Attempts made by The Hoot for comments were not returned.

Brandeis will spend Friday and Saturday in Amherst to play in the Amherst Classic where they will face the hosting team Friday at 7 p.m., Middlebury at 11 a.m. Saturday, and Westfield State at 2 p.m. Saturday.

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