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A fresh new start for Brandeis Women’s Volleyball

Brandeis women’s volleyball advertised a young team during the 2015 season, sporting nine first-year players and only three seniors to lead them. It was a rocky season for the Judges, but they enter the new 2016 season with a fresh attitude, boasting new experience the team lacked last year.

The team attempts to rebound from a 5-27 overall record and a 0-7 record against UAA conference opponents. They recorded wins against Colby-Sawyer College, University of Southern Maine, Simmons College, Wesleyan University in Connecticut and Lasell College. Southern Maine is the only school that remains on the team’s upcoming schedule for the 2016 season so far.

Heading into this new season, Coach Vaccari, the head coach to the women’s volleyball team, intends to take positives away from the largely unsuccessful season and build on what the team did best. She commends the work ethic put in by each player at every game. “We were recognized by the UAA volleyball coaches for our relentless work ethic in 2015 and how we played hard to the last point,” she said about the new experience her young team has going into this next season.

After the fall 2015 season ended, the team spent the spring semester working on team dynamic. Vaccari spent the off-season focusing her players’ attention on “implementing a ‘team first’ attitude,” a culture shift to which the team took well to.

The team dynamic going into the fall 2016 season will be no different, said coach Vaccari. She looks to build a “team first” culture where the women improve together to build on each individual result.

Of the nine first-years featured on the team’s roster last year, eight of them will be returning for another season of Brandeis volleyball, including the team’s libero Yvette Cho ’19. Cho commented that her new sophomore class was looking to take a more active role on the team this year. “Last year all of us kind of followed the lead and were pretty timid players but this season we know what to do and we’re all ready to be our own leaders,” she said.

Cho’s sophomore teammate, Grace Krumpack ’19 agrees and expects to use the challenges the team faced last year to build on their mentality. “I think because we went through a tough season last year, we became a much stronger team,” she said.

The team looks for a complete turnaround in their mindset coming into this year and are looking to capitalize their strengths for the season, using their UAA-renowned game work ethic. In the off-season, the team’s strength on defense became apparent, according to Krumpack, which makes them a hard team to score on.

Along with Cho, Krumpack and the six other sophomores, the team rosters just one senior, Jessica Kaufman ’17, and two juniors, Lia Goldberg ’18 and Jessie Moore ’18.

For the next season, the team recruited two incoming first years, both with their own skills to contribute to the team. The team welcomes Emma Bartlett ’20 and Doyeon Kim ’20, according to Vaccari. Bartlett, a Massachusetts native, looks to contribute offensively providing options at net. Kim, hailing from California, will specialize in the back row on defense with her impressive ball control.

With pre-season right around the corner, captains for the team have not yet been chosen. The women’s pre-season, a practice session lasting two weeks, is set to start Thursday, Aug. 18.

The Judges are set to begin their season on Friday, Sept. 2 with a game at home against Smith College at 6 p.m. The Judges have not challenged the Pioneers since the 2013 season, which finalized in a Smith win three sets to the Judges’ one.

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