After a win against the University of Rochester, the Judges looked to take that momentum into games on back-to-back days. On Thursday Oct. 21, the Judges faced Johnson & Wales University (JWU) and then immediately played Bowdoin College the day after. In their game against JWU, they played an incredibly close game that came down to the final set.
In the first set, Brandeis and JWU went back and forth. After many kills and attack errors, the score was 24-18 in favor of Brandeis. Then JWU went on a quick run to make the score 24-21. Freshman Lara Verstovsek ’25 ended that JWU momentum by having a kill to close the set and give the Judges a 1-0 series lead. In the second set against JWU, the Judges were even for the first half of the set. A kill from senior Emerson White ’22 got the team on the board and was followed by various attacking errors from JWU. Brandeis led 12-8 and 14-11 at points within the first set but ultimately after they scored their 14th point, JWU went on a nine-point run to put Brandeis behind by seven. The huge run from JWU, ended up leading to a set one loss of 16-25 for the Judges.
Set three did not start off well for the Judges. JWU started the set with a 4-0 run which caused the Judges to call a timeout. After the timeout the Judges surrendered another two points before scoring their first point on a kill by senior Kaisa Newberg ’22. Then the Judges slowly began to crawl back into the game. Key kills from senior Belle Scott ’22 and a service ace from sophomore Gracie Lerian ’24 eventually brought the set to be tied at 14-14. The two teams traded scoring up until when the score was tied at 21. JWU then proceeded to close out the set with a 4-0 run to give them a 2-1 series lead. With their backs against the wall, the Judges came out firing with a quick 6-2 lead at the start of set four. The two teams then continued to trade points back and forth like how they had been playing for the entire series. Once the score reached 20-18, the Judges had the series tie in their sights. Unfortunately, JWU went on a run to take the lead 20-23. The match was slowly getting away from them, until Newberg had a clutch kill. After a bad set from JWU, junior Emily Morrison ’23 tied the game with a service ace. Senior Kaitlyn Oh ’22 then led the charge with a service ace to win the set 26-24. In the final set of the match, the Judges were even with JWU for four points. Then JWU went on a 9-1-point run. The Judges ended up stopping this run to make the score 6-13, but by that point the damage was done as JWU closed the match with the set win 15-6. Verstovsek and Newberg led the team in kills with seven. Sophomore Ella Pereira ’24 led the team in digs with 24.
The next day, the Judges came back home to face off against Bowdoin College. They started the first set off strong with a 5-1 run to start the game. Verstovsek had two kills in that run. Brandeis scored one more point before Bowdoin scored five consecutive points to tie the game at six. After tying the game at six, Bowdoin proceeded to score another six points before another point from Brandeis. Eventually, Bowdoin began to close the first set with the score being 20-10. The Judges made the set interesting in the end to make the score 17-23, but Bowdoin ended up winning the set 25-17. In the second set, the Judges once again started off strong. Sophomore Ines Grom-Mansencal ’24 had two service aces to contribute to the 5-0 Brandeis start. Bowdoin then started their comeback and Brandeis could not hold them off. The score was eventually tied at nine.
After tying the game, Bowdoin took the lead and never looked back. While Brandeis was keeping up with Bowdoin, Bowdoin never gave up the lead. When the score got to 24-20 in favor of Bowdoin, junior Amelia Oppenheimer ’23 and Newberg tried to turn the tides with kills and a block. They brought the score to 23-24, but Bowdoin ended the comeback with a kill to give them a 2-0 series lead. Just like every set one and two, the Judges started off the third set strong with a 6-1 lead. Then the lead slipped away, and the score was eventually tied at eight. The set went back and forth with Verstovsek having an incredible set. Towards the end of the set the Judges led 22-21. Their 22nd point ended up being their last point as Bowdoin scored four consecutive points to win the match 3-0. Verstovsek led all players in the match with 12 kills. Pereira again led the team in digs with 19. Brandeis started every set strong, but they could not maintain their lead. They were very even for most of the match, but Bowdoin was very good at closing sets which is why Brandeis could not win a set.
The Judges will play two more games in October, one against Wellesley College on Oct. 28 and another game against Springfield College on Oct. 30.