Volleyball: Bartlett receives UAA honors after hot start

September 14, 2018

Despite her boundless talent, Emma Bartlett ’20 did not begin her athletic career as a volleyball player. She was a gymnast first but never felt as if she completely fit in with the rhythmic sport. Standing at six feet tall, she always sought to play a sport that better suited her height, turning to volleyball as a possible medium to embark on a new athletic journey. So, in the eighth grade, Bartlett traded in her leotards for kneepads and dabbled in a brand new volleyball program in her hometown of Duxbury, M.A., immediately fitting in quite well as a middle blocker.

Bartlett fell in love with the game almost as soon as she started playing, as her athleticism and height allowed her to effectively block and kill, filling the void that she had felt in gymnastics. But what really won Bartlett over was being part of a team, as she was now able to compete with other athletes toward one common goal.

After making the transition from an individual to a team sport, she said, “That is the best part of volleyball. The team culture that you find playing this sport is a huge boost.” This family-like atmosphere hooked Bartlett, causing her to never look back, and therefore continue to become the passionate volleyball player that now walks the Brandeis campus.

Going into this season, Bartlett had a goal that most athletes similarly strive for: making the NCAA tournament. With that simmering in the back of her mind, she took the court by storm to begin her junior year, making an immediate impact within the first few games of the 2018 season.

The Judges headed out west to take on the defending Division III national champions, as they fell 2-3 in a intense 5-set match against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Despite not pulling off the upset, Bartlett went for a career high of 21 kills, only making three errors on 33 attacks. This made her hitting percentage .545, her third time hitting over .500 in her career so far at Brandeis. She also had the team high of four block assists, rounding out her outstanding performance against the country’s best competition. When looking back on the game, she said, “We just went out there and played. We had nothing to lose and wanted to make the Brandeis name known on the other side of the country.”

The Judges did just that, as Bartlett’s display earned her the UAA Volleyball Athlete of the Week, an honor that the program has not brought home since Elsie Berniache ’15 did so on Sept. 2, 2014. For the week, she posted a .365 hitting percentage, with 42 total kills and only 11 errors in 85 attacks. She continued to lead the team with nine blocks (three solo), and was also second on the team with six aces from the service line.

After the Judges’ drought being recognized in this regard, Bartlett felt “very honored to have been acknowledged as Athlete of the Week. Things like this go to show how much the program has grown over the years and how much more room there is to continue growing in years to come.”

When she is not at Gosman perfecting her craft, Bartlett can be found dedicating ample amounts of time to academics, as she is studying both economics and environmental studies. This upcoming year, she is looking to become more involved in SEA, Students for Environmental Action, in which students at Brandeis work to make both our campus and the surrounding communities a more sustainable, healthy and environmentally-friendly place through its many initiatives completed throughout the school year.

Behind Bartlett’s accomplishments, the Judges now sit at 5-2 record, looking to continue their success at Endicott College on Friday, Sept. 14.

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