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Volleyball prevails with a 2-2 record at MIT Invitational

By Dani Chasin

Section: Sports

September 28, 2012

After battling their way through the MIT Invitational last weekend, the women’s volleyball team came out with two wins and two losses. The Judges suffered close losses against Roger Williams and MIT and defeated Bates and Mount Ida. Though they were able to secure a 2-2 record at the invitational, the women now carry a season record of 11-4.

Coach Michelle Kim said the Judges recognized the high level of competition before play began.

“We played a good mix of teams. We knew going into the weekend that we would need to work hard to beat the teams we faced,” Kim said.

In their first game against the Roger Williams’ Hawks, the Judges set the pace by winning the first two sets by scores of 25-22 and 25-7. Though their confidence and energy level was high, the Brandeis morale soon wavered when the Hawks battled back to win the last three sets. The ending scores of the game were 25-22, 25-7, 20-25, 18-25 and 15-17. Kim added, “[the] match was a heartbreaker. We were evenly matched with them, and it would have been nice to come away with the win, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to pull it off.”

Outside hitter Liz Hood ’15 led the Judges with a match-high 20 kills, bumping her personal kills record up to 229. Other top performers in the game against the Hawks included libero Elsie Bernaiche ’15 who had a match-high 22 digs and outside hitter Si-Si Hensley ’14 who scored a double-double with 15 kills and 17 digs. Setter Yael Einhorn ’14 secured a match-high 37 assists to help her team on the attack. The strong return by the Hawks, however, proved to get the best of the Judges’ performance in the first two sets and the remainder of the game.

Later that day, the Judges countered their loss against the Hawks with a solid 3-1 win over the Bates Bobcats. Coming out strong in the first two sets yet again, the women were hoping to end the game in three sets. The Bobcats, however, gained momentum in the third in order to win a closely contested set with a score of 27-25. The Judges were unwilling to accept another loss for the day and fought back to win the game in four sets. The scores for the match were 25-27, 19-25, 27-25 and 26-24.

The top attackers for the Brandeis team were middle blocker Becca Fisher ’13 and middle blocker Maddie Engeler ’16. Fisher held a match-high 17 kills, while Engeler scored 10 and Hood had 14. In addition to conducting a steady offensive throughout the game, the team also saw great performances by Bernaiche, Einhorn and defensive specialist Amaris Brown ’16. Bernaiche secured a match-high 21 digs, while Einhorn had 16 digs and 45 assists and Brown scored 10 digs. Overall, the Judges showed a great team effort and consistency that reaffirmed their dominance over the Bobcats.

On the second and final day of the MIT invitational, the Judges were prepared to win two straight matches against MIT and Mount Ida. The first game of the day was against MIT, the team that proved they were a force to be reckoned with after their back-to-back wins against Roger Williams and Bates the previous day. Coming out strong in the first set, the Judges secured a 1-0 lead over the Engineers with a score of 25-22. However, the Brandeis team lost their groove in the last three sets and lost by a score of 3-1 by margins of 22-25, 25-17, 25-11 and 26-24. Though the Judges fought back in the fourth set to take the match to another set, the Engineers were able to fend them off and secure their win.

In the match against MIT, the top players for the Judges included Hood, who recorded a match-high 11 kills, while middle blocker Lauren Berens ’13 had 10 kills. Bernaiche, who earned a match-high 22 digs, and Einhorn, who totaled 33 assists, played a crucial role for their team on the attack as well.

Entering the game against the Mount Ida Mustangs with a tournament record of 1-2, the Judges were intent on solidifying another win to balance out their losses. Unlike their other matches, the Judges were down 0-1 after the first set and had to battle back to win. After losing 28-26 in the first set, the Brandeis team secured the following three sets to win the match 3-1. The scores of the sets were 26-28, 25-17, 25-16 and 25-11. The Mustangs were unable to gain momentum on the Judges who asserted their dominance early in the second set.

The standout performers of the match were Bernaiche, Hood and Einhorn, who have proved to be the dominant trio for the Brandeis Judges. Hood recorded a match-high 16 kills and nine digs, Bernaiche scored a match-high 21 digs and Einhorn led the attack with 30 assists. Also contributing to the offense, Berens secured nine kills for the team.

With two more wins on their record, the Judges continue to enhance their season performance. The losses that they suffered from the tournament remind them that they have tough competition and must hone a few aspects of their game to face these teams again in the future.

“I thought MIT and Roger Williams matches were a good test for us, especially going into a tough conference weekend coming up this weekend in Chicago,” Kim said. “We’ll need all of our players to work hard and be on their A game.”

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