Last Thursday, the Brandeis volleyball team took on Wellesley College, marking the last home game of team captain and lone senior, Emma Bartlett ’20. The first set began with a block by Bartlett, awarding the Judges the first point. The Wellesley College Blue answered back with a kill by Lauren Gedney ’21. The next play resulted in a kill for Bartlett, putting the Judges up 2-1. The Blue then went on a 5-0 streak and held onto that lead until the end, finishing the set 25-11.
Similarly to the first set, the second set began with a point for the Judges. The Blue then went on a 7-0 run, making the score 7-1. Brandeis battled hard but Wellesley got an early lead, 13-6. The Judges did however follow this up with a 5-0 run, putting them back in the game with a score of 13-11. The set remained very close until Wellesley scored 10 nearly consecutive points, ending the set 25-16.
The Judges obtained an early lead of 6-2 in the third set, following two kills by Bartlett, back to back to back aces by Talia Freund ’23, and a block from the duo. The two teams went back and forth, each scoring one or two points at a time, until Brandeis went on a 5-0 run that included three aces from first-year Amelia Oppenheimer ’23, making the score 13-7 for the Judges. Brandeis held onto this lead until the Blue scored five consecutive points, tying the game 17 all. The Blue then proceeded to go on an 8-1 point steak, winning them the set 25-19, and the game 3-0.
The Brandeis team was led by Bartlett in number of kills with 8, pushing her career total to 947. Bartlett, the middle hitter, also currently sits at 297 career blocks. If she is able to achieve 1000 kills and/or 300 blocks in the teams next few away games, she will make Brandeis volleyball history, being the sixth and second to ever achieve these feats.
The Brandeis Hoot caught up with the volleyball star Emma Bartlett following her final home game, and asked her a series of questions about the sport.
The Hoot: How has being a member of the Brandeis Volleyball team impacted your life?
EB: “The team has been an integral part of my life at Brandeis, as it immediately gave me a family entering college my freshman year, and the level of support that the team has provided through thick and thin has been so important over the past four years.”
The Hoot: What is your favourite memory from any of your seasons?
EB: “My favorite memory was last year when we reached the fifth place match versus NYU and came back from two sets down to reach our highest UAA finish in years. Having attended two UAA Championships in the past and not reaching the full potential we knew we had, it was the most exhilarating feeling to finally show off our capabilities at such a high level of volleyball.”
The Hoot: How old were you when you started playing volleyball?
EB: “I actually started a lot later than many of my teammates as my high school didn’t have a team and I was still very involved in gymnastics. As soon as I heard they were beginning a team in eighth grade, I was immediately drawn to it and decided to try it out and haven’t lost my passion for it since.”
The Hoot: How did you manage to balance athletics and academics?
EB: “I found great motivation through my teammates, as we have always been athletically and academically driven. Whenever someone was in the library or wants to work during a tournament, a teammate would text in the group and there was nearly always someone else that responded to work together. Having such a set schedule also provided motivation to remain on top of assignments as there was no room to distract myself for hours (although it certainly still happened at times).”
The Hoot: What is one life skill, acquired from volleyball, that you will you consider to use in your life?
EB: “The biggest skill that volleyball provides for real life is knowing the simple fact that you will make an error, but it is how you react to that mistake that determines your character. Making a conscious effort to tell yourself that it is ok and turning what seems inherently negative into a positive learning moment allows you to make the next play better for your team. It is a huge skill that I certainly will apply in my life.”
The Hoot: What are your plans after graduation?
EB: “Still trying to figure that out! Possibly working in Boston or another big city like New York or Washington D.C., but have always wanted to volunteer abroad as a gap year before really diving in to a full-time position, so the future is still up in the air!”
The Hoot: Do you have any advice for aspiring volleyball players?
EB: “If you love the sport, never stop working hard to improve your skills – there are always new things to learn and new ways to challenge yourself so get out there and just do it!”