In the final University Athletic Association (UAA) women’s volleyball tournament of the season, the Brandeis women’s volleyball squad secured seventh place after defeating the University of Rochester (UR) 3-2. This closing Round Robin of the season was held at Emory University in Atlanta, GA where Brandeis faced the 18th-ranked University of Chicago Maroons in addition to the University of Rochester Yellowjackets. Overall, the Judges are 6-15 on the season, and after securing their first win in the UAA, the Judges fell to 1-6 in conference play.
In the opening match against the UC Maroons, the Judges were unable to take the lead, falling to their opponent 25-14. Taking an early 5-1 lead in the second set, the Judges were off to a promising start against the 18-ranked squad. However, Brandeis began to lose momentum after UC tied the match up, 18-all off of five straight points. A service error by the Maroons gave Brandeis another chance to take control of the action and Lara Verstovsek ’25 provided a spark, putting two service aces on the board to make it 21-18. While the Judges did give the Maroons a run for their money, the Brandeis squad did lose the second and third sets.
Verstovsek led all players with seven kills, while senior leader Stephanie Borr ’22 had five for the game. Ines Grom-Mansenecal ’24 had a complete game, recording a double with 19 assists and 11 digs while successfully killing four of her five attacks. Sophomore Rita Lai ’24 contributed four blocks in the team’s effort against the Maroons.
In the second game of the day, the Judges faced the Yellowjackets who took the first two sets, 18-25 and 25-22. However, the Brandeis women were able to regain control of the game in the third set, gaining momentum that carried them to their first UAA win of the 2021 season. Down early in the fourth, 7-2, the Judges successfully took the lead on a kill by Amelia Oppenheimer ’23. While the opponent did respond to the Judges 10-3 run with a 9-2 run of their own, a Brandeis timeout called by Head Coach Alesia Bennett iced the Yellowjackets; the Judges went on to score eight of the next 10 points and regained the lead on a tremendous kill by Borr. The teams traded the next couple of points, but the Brandeis women won by two, 26-24, forcing a decisive fifth set.
After trailing to start the fifth set, 7-2, the Judges scored six in a row, including a kill from Borr, a service ace from classmate Kaitlyn Oh ’22 and a block at the net by Lai. Unable to capitalize on opportunities, the Judges allowed UR to tie the fifth match at 14-all. Borr kept the Judges in the game, retying the match at 15-all after a kill; it was junior Emily Morrison’s ’23 service ace that allowed the Judges to clinch the set, beating the Yellowjackets in five sets.
Stephanie Borr led her team with match and career-high 15 kills as one of three Judges to reach double figures. Verstovsek and Oppenheimer each contributed 11 kills, while Ella Pereira ’24 also recorded a career-high 28 digs. Borr had 12 digs for her first double-double of the season, while Verstovsek had 11 for her fourth double-double of her career. Setter Grom-Mansenecal added 39 assists and 14 digs in their winning effort against the Yellowjackets, resulting in both her second highest totals of the season and her ninth double double. For the season, the Judges are 2-2 in five set matches.
The Brandeis women’s volleyball team will compete in their next non-conference game on the road at Johnson and Wales on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. On Oct. 22, the Judges host Bowdoin College at 7 p.m.