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Losing streak snapped in weekend tournament

Losing streak snapped in weekend tournament

By Curtis Zunyu He

Section: Featured, Sports

September 25, 2015

The volleyball team ended a rough three-game road trip and managed to snap their six-game losing streak by beating the Simmons Sharks with a clean sweep, 3-0, on Saturday. However, the Judges weren’t able to hang on to their momentum as they were swept later on in the second half of the tri-match with a 0-3 loss to the Roger Williams Hawks. The weekend’s split brought the Judges to a 3-11 record this season, which may not put the team in a favorable situation with the UAA tournament closing in.
The Judges presented their best in the first game against Simmons with a fantastic showcase of both offense and defense. The team managed a 0.129 kill percentage which is the Judges’ second highest for this season. In addition, the four blocks from senior middle hitter Maddie Engler ’16 boosted the defensive energy to another level.

“The defense and offense in the first game was great. Brandeis had amazing performances by Maddie Engeler with blocking and Grace Krumpack ’19 with hitting that had a big role in the win,” said setter Allison Harmsworth ’19. As mentioned, Krumpack put up incredible effort as a first-year outside hitter, leading the team with eight kills and 15 digs.

The Judges were able to take control in the first and third set with two 25-14 wins, but found themselves in tight competition for most of the second set. The Sharks always managed to pull themselves back into the game by trimming the lead. However, the lack of defense killed the Sharks as they failed to hold the attack from Krumpack in the last few rounds of the set, costing them the set by a score of 25-22. The Sharks only managed to pull off two block assists in the whole game. The win was the second for Coach Alesia Vaccari against her former team, Simmons College. Vaccari coached at Simmons College for four years. “We were very excited! It was our coach’s old school so we definitely wanted to get that win for her,” said Harmsworth.

The second game against Roger Williams became the stage for “the freshman squad,” with outstanding performances coming from Krumpack, Harmsworth and Yvette Cho ’19. Krumpack and Harmsworth both achieved career highs with 13 kills and 24 assists respectively in the game against the Roger Williams Hawks. Cho ended up with 10 digs which was the highest on the team on the defensive end. “Cho and Grace have been an amazing addition to the team this year. Cho leads our defense at all times in a great way and is a big part of our success. Grace played phenomenally in the Simmons and Roger Williams games and was a big part of the reason we won that game,” commented Harmsworth.

The first-year players have brought a much-needed spark of energy for the Judges. However, this drive wasn’t enough to close out the game against the more experienced Hawk squad as the Judges fell short in all three sets with loses of 19-25, 14-25 and 19-25. “Roger Williams was a really competitive team overall. They just managed to minimize their errors more,” said Harmsworth.

The Judges were at a disadvantage when they committed 28 errors while the Hawks only had 12. The Hawks’ defense was also asphyxiating with 16 blocks which dropped the Judges’ hitting percentage to only 0.011. The Judges only managed four blocks in the game against Roger Williams. The attempt of a winning streak was once again shut down unfortunately for the Judges.

However, Harmsworth remains positive with the progress the team has been making, “I think we’ve improved a lot because every day we learn more about each other which contributes to the betterment of the team as a whole … We are expecting highly competitive teams that will make us play our best and hopefully get some more wins,” said Harmsworth.

The UAA Round Robin tournament will begin Saturday, Oct. 3 at New York University with Brandeis facing Carnegie Mellon. The Judges look to use their two-week rest to foster a better team dynamic and create chemistry among the Judges, pushing them to more victories.

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