Volleyball takes defending national champions to five sets

September 7, 2018

Women’s volleyball kickstarted their season travelling to Claremont, C.A., to play four games. The women returned on Monday, Sept. 4 boasting success in the west, running a 3-1 record and nearly toppling the defending Division III NCAA national champions.

Despite travelling over 2000 miles to play in California, Brandeis hit the court against two east coast schools in the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps gym. The first game, the season opener, found Brandeis facing off against Union College, located in Schenectady, N.Y.

Brandeis secured the win in four sets against New York team, dropping the second but recovering in the third and fourth with strong offensive consistency. In the final two sets of the match, the team hit at a successful .200 rate to trump the Union contest.

Shea Decker-Jacoby ’19 and Emma Bartlett ’20 played particularly large roles in the four-set win, each clocking nine kills from their respective hitting positions. Bartlett also had a notable four blocks, defending the offensive attacks from the opposing team.

The second game, also played on Friday, Aug. 31, found the Judges competing against the Mount Aloysius College Mounties, an institution located in Cresson, P.A.

The women put up a stable and consistent effort throughout the entire game, defeating the Mounties in three straight sets 25-18, 25-19, 25-19. It would be the Judges only straight set win of the trip.

The next day, Saturday, Sept. 1, the Judges returned to the court to tackle a more difficult schedule. The team played the defending national champions, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, for the first game of the day.

After dropping the first two sets to the top ranked California team in seemingly routine fashion, the Judges bounced back in the third set with a strong offense coming off the hits of Bartlett. The women kept on the gas pedal during the fourth set, taking it to the Claremont school and dominating the home team 25-13.

The match came down to the wire in the fifth set. Playing to 15 for the fifth and final set, the Judges kept neck and neck with Claremont, earning an opportunity for a match point at 14-13. Claremont came up clutch in the final moments, however, hitting four kills, with a kill from Decker-Jacoby in the middle, to finally secure the the 17-15 triumph over the Judges.

Despite the loss, the Judges will be turning some heads with that win, according to Wyatt Emenaker ’19, the team’s volunteer assistant coach. It is just the beginning of the season, and Brandeis Women’s Volleyball is already making its mark in the division.

The women finished out the day with an efficient win against University of Redlands, beating the California team in four sets, with a handly won fourth set at 25-11.

The team’s success in California had much to do with middle hitter Bartlett. The junior hit 21 kills in the game against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps alone and 42 over the entire California trip. She hit at greater than a .300 percentage, invoking both power and consistency throughout. Along with her offensive prowess, Bartlett also proved invaluable on defense, earning a total of nine blocks over the four games. Bartlett’s strong performance earned her the title of UAA Athlete of the Week.

The Judges have their home opener on Friday, Sept. 7, playing against University of Maine at Presque Isle at 5:00pm and Bowdoin College at 7 p.m. They hope to build on their 3-1 record and make a dent in the UAA conference and in Division III NCAA overall.

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