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Volleyball drops three in UAA Round Robin

By Zach Cihlar

Section: Sports

October 6, 2017

Women’s volleyball traveled to Cleveland, Ohio over the weekend of Sept. 29-31 to compete in the first University Athletic Association (UAA) conference Round Robin. Playing in one of the most competitive conferences in the nation, the team had the opportunity to play a few highly ranked teams.

The Judges entered the weekend with quite a bit of momentum, coming off three 3-0 wins in a row and boasting a 7-3 record. Last season’s first UAA Round Robin saw Brandeis dropping three matches 0-3. Playing more competitively this season, the team looked to make a greater dent in the UAA conference.

The first day of the round robin had Brandeis scheduled to play solid nationally-ranked teams including #3 Emory University, a team with a quarterfinal berth in the 2016 Division III national championships.

First on the schedule was #25 University of Chicago. The Judges fought hard but dropped the match 18-25, 12-25, 21-25. Chicago continued to have a successful weekend, defeating all three of their conference opponents on their schedule, including Emory on day two of competition.

Captain Yvette Cho ’19 gave the Judges out with 16 digs, while her teammate Marissa Borgert ’21 helped out, offering 20 assists. At the net, Zara Platt ’19 and Emma Bartlett ’20 offered solid offense with eight kills and seven kills, respectively.

Barely an hour later, the Judges returned to the court to play Emory, a team boasting a 13-1 record when they met the Judges in match play. The only match Emory dropped in the regular season was against Wittenberg University, currently ranked #1 nationally in Division III.

The Judges played a tight first set with the highly ranked team, even leading at 18-14 when Emory attained a seven-point win streak with a series of Brandeis errors and Emory kills that pushed the Atlanta-based team into the lead. Emory would retain the lead for the rest of the match.

Earning a lead against a team that highly ranked was a substantial accomplishment for the team, according to one of the team’s outside hitters and Hoot sport’s writer Shea Decker-Jacoby ’19. “This game was one of the tops games I have ever played,” she elaborated, “The team played as a unit, played with heart and grit, and left everything out on the court.”

Despite facing formidable opponent across the net, Decker-Jacoby described the team as unphased by the high level of competition. “We wanted to show teams what Brandeis Volleyball is now and show them how hard we have worked over the past month and half and really compete with the teams,” she said.

Brandeis played their final game of the Round Robin on Sunday, Oct. 1 against the University of Rochester. Of the three games they were scheduled to play over the weekend, Rochester was the most winnable.

Though overmatched in height, the Judges came out swinging, looking to prove volleyball’s improvement since last year. Ultimately, the women dropped the match in four sets, earning their sole set of the weekend in the second set 25-21. The overall score tallied at 18-25, 25-21, 24-26, 17-25.

Decker-Jacoby and the rest of the team are taking away positives from the weekend, considering they competed and performed at a higher level than they have as a team in the past. “Taking a set off of Rochester was a big win for the Brandeis program and shows the leaps and bounds we have taken as a program,” Decker-Jacoby said.

The next on the schedule for Brandeis women’s volleyball is a three-game homestand over Homecoming weekend in preparation for the second UAA Round Robin Oct. 7-8, where the team will play the four other UAA teams they have yet to compete against.

“Looking to our next three games, we are looking to improve our mental toughness and technical work,” Decker-Jacoby told The Hoot. After the three game homestand, the women’s volleyball will play out the rest of its season on their opponent’s turf, until the season finalizes with the UAA tournament in early November.

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