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Volleyball team ends season with loss in first round of ECAC Championship

By Hannah Vickers

Section: Sports

November 13, 2009

The Judges finished out their regular season last weekend in Chicago in the UAA Tournament where they went 1-3 to finish sixth. They went on to be seeded second in the East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Championship tournament and faced Colby-Sawyer on Wednesday night. In a surprising turn, the Judges dropped the match 3-2 and were knocked out in the first round.

On Friday Nov. 6, Brandeis faced two of the toughest teams in the tournament: Emory and Chicago. Emory, the second seed in the UAA tournament, was the defending UAA and NCAA champions while Chicago was the seeded third for the weekend.

In the match against Emory the Judges fell in straight sets, 25-16, 25-21, 25-21. Outside hitter Paige Blasco ’11 led the offense with a .258 percentage and 12 kills. Blasco also had six digs. Twin sister and setter Abby Blasco ‘11 had 26 assists while Rookie libero Anna Homitsky had seven digs.

The Judges fell in straight sets for the second time that day when they faced hosts Chicago, though it was a much closer game. Each set came down to just two points which the Maroons squeezing by 25-23, 27-25, 25-23. Middle Blocker Nicole Smith ’11 paced Brandeis with a .562 percentage with just one error in 16 attempts and 10 kills. Abby Blasco, Paige Blasco, and outside hitter Piera Carfagno ’10 each had eight digs. Abby also added 27 assists.

Brandeis came back on Saturday with an unexpected win over Carnegie Mellon in four sets, 25-13, 25-18, 27-29, 25-16. Paige Blasco dominated the play by putting up 20 kills and 11 digs for her 10th double-double of the season while sister Abby had 46 assists and 10 digs for her 14th double-double of the year. Bridget McAllister ’10 had no errors in 30 attempts in addition to 11 kills for a .367 percentage. With the win the Judges moved through to the fifth-place match.

The Judges were unable to keep their momentum going after their win over Carnegie Mellon and fell to Case Western Reserve in five sets to finish in sixth place. The set scores were 25-22, 20-25, 25-22, 22-25, 15-12. Again, despite the loss, the Brandeis players performed well. With 42 assists, 12 digs, and 11 kills Abby Blasco recorded her first triple-double of her career. Paige Blasco put up her second double-double of the day with 17 kills and 17 digs.

With the weekend Brandeis finished off their regular season at 18-16, 2-9 in UAA play.

The volleyball season ended Wednesday night with a loss to the Colby-Sawyer. The second-seeded Judges almost rallied back from a two set deficit in the ECAC Division III New England Volleyball championships, but they were not able to come past the seventh-seeded Chargers.

The Judges had a major obstacle to overcome without second-team All-UAA hitter Paige Blasco, who was out with a sore knee. Piera Carfagno ’10 had to play as setter as Abby Blasco was unable to serve as setter due to a sore foot. Because of these changes it took the Judges a while to settle into their grove, and by the time they got there it was too late.

Colby-Sawyer won the first two sets 25-15, 25-16; Brandeis answered with the next two 25-14, 25-16. In the fifth and final set the Judges were up 8-7 at one point, but the Chargers rallied back to win 15-10.

This was the last game of the season for the Judges. Carfagno had a career-high of 34 assists while McAllister had a season-high of 14 kills and 17 digs.

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