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Volleyball wins two, loses two

By web

Section: Sports

October 8, 2010

The Brandeis volleyball team had a week of mixed results, losing a pair of matches to nationally-ranked squads but winning two in blowout fashion.

Last Saturday, the Judges faced the powerful Washington University Bears and felt the wrath of the best team in the nation. Washington won last year’s NCAA Division III National Championship and they entered the match ranked first. However, Brandeis started out strong, dropping the first set 25-23 after forcing 13 tie scores and holding the lead for much of the match. The Bears came out firing in the second half, smacking 16 kills and committing only one error for a .484 percentage and downing the Judges by a score of 25-14. Shaken, Brandeis then tallied only two kills while committing six errors and compiling a -.182 percentage while dropping the final set 25-16, giving them a 3-0 defeat in their first conference match.

Sunday was a doubleheader for the Judges and they started the right way, beating the Rochester Yellowjackets 3-1, including an excellent 25-15 opening set. Rochester bounced back with 17 kills in a 25-19 win, but the Judges closed the match 25-20, 25-21. Paige Blasco ‘11 contributed 20 kills and 25 digs to the winning effort, while Nicole Smith ’11 was the model of efficiency with a .545 hitting percentage and Abby Blasco ’11 racked up 39 assists. Overall, Brandeis only committed 19 errors.

Their success continued in the early stages of their match against the 19th-ranked University of Chicago, as 14 kills and three errors gave the Judges a 25-21 victory in the opening set. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there, as the Maroons swept the final three sets 25-21, 25-16 and 25-19.

The low point came in the third set, when Brandeis couldn’t keep its hitting percentage in the black, finishing -.029 despite 34 attempts. Chicago tightened their play as the match wore on, committing three errors in the third set and only two in the fourth.

After three matches in one weekend, the Judges got two days off before returning home to play Emerson College. Whether it was the rest or the friendly confines of Gosman that inspired Brandeis, the team was in rare form on Wednesday. The hapless Lions belied their 14-5 record, falling by margins of 25-12, 25-14 and 25-7, and the Judges total of 33 points lost was their lowest total of the year. Brandeis’ stunning consistency was the hallmark of the match; they committed only two errors in each of the three sets and finished with a .376 hitting percentage. Nicole Smith’s .588 percentage led the team, while Yael Einhorn ‘14, Si-Si Hensley ‘14, and Paige Blasco each recorded double digits worth of digs.

This year, Brandeis has averaged a strong 11.3 kills per set and kept their service percentage above 90. Paige Blasco’s 223 kills and Abby Blasco’s 411 assists lead the team. On the defensive side, Nicole Smith averages more than one block per set, and Abby Blasco has 34 blocks to her credit without committing a single blocking error.

The Judges record stands at 11-7 (1-2 in the UAA), including a 7-1 mark at home. The team returns to action on Oct. 9 with a doubleheader at Keene State, playing Colby-Sawyer in the early match and the home team in the nightcap.

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