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Volleyball ends season at UAA tournament

To end the season, the Brandeis volleyball team traveled to New York University (NYU) to participate in the University Athletic Association (UAA) tournament. Day one of the tournament was on Nov. 4, with their first match against NYU. The Judges faced NYU earlier in the season and lost 0-3. But that was nearly two months ago, so it was a completely new situation. 

In set one, the Judges stayed close for the most part. Towards the middle of the set, NYU went on a 3-0 run that gave them a 10-15 lead. However, the Judges answered and eventually evened the score at 19-19, with big kills coming from sophomore Lara Verstovsek ’25. NYU went on a short 2-0 run, as it looked like they were going to close out the set. But Sydney Bent (GRAD) had a kill to stop that momentum. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop NYU for long, as they went on a 4-0 run to win the set 25-20. Set two saw the Judges lead through the first 11 points of the game, 6-5. NYU then went on a 6-0 run and held the lead for the rest of the set. Kills from Verstovsek and Bent kept them competitive throughout the set but another huge run at the end of the set gave NYU the set victory 25-17. Set three did not start off strong for the Judges as NYU started with a 6-2 run. A couple of attacking errors and kills from senior Emerson White ’23 later, the Judges brought the score even at 8-8. The two teams traded points for a little bit before NYU went on a 7-0 run to take a 17-10 lead. NYU slowly inched towards victory and eventually got the score to 24-20. Brandeis nearly made a comeback after getting three consecutive kills, but NYU finally got that last point and won 25-23 to stop Brandeis’ comeback. NYU won the match 3-0.

Bent led the team in kills with 13 and was followed by Vervstovsek with 11. Junior Ines Grom-Mansencal ’24 led the team in assists with 28. Bent also led the team in digs with 20, while Stephanie Borr (GRAD) was not far behind her with 15. The team proceeded to play Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) later that day. Brandeis also previously played CWRU this season and lost 0-3 during the UAA Round Robin 2. 

Set one saw the Judges start off really well. Although CWRU was keeping the set close, Brandeis held the lead for most of the set. They were led by kills from White and first-year Anna Ertischek ’26. Brandeis got to 20 points first as they had a 20-16 lead over CWRU. But CWRU then went on a 6-0 run to retake the lead. The Judges finally got a point to stop the momentum and make the score 21-22, but CWRU closed the set with a 3-0 run to win set one. Set two was another competitive one. There were six total lead changes throughout the set. Every time one team would take the lead, the other would respond with a short run to tie the set. Bent and Ertischek led the team towards a close finish as the two teams were tied at 19-19. Although Brandeis was close for the entire set, CWRU closed the set with a 6-1 run to take set two. Set three was defined by two runs. Early in the set, CWRU went on a 8-0 run to take a 13-4 lead. The Judges quickly responded with a 7-0 run of their own to cut the deficit to two. Although Brandeis mostly kept up with CWRU for the rest of the set, they could not take the lead. CWRU ended the game with a 6-1 run to take set three. CWRU ended up winning the match 3-0. 

Ertischek tied the team lead in kills of seven with Bent. Grom-Mansencal led the team in assists with 15 while also adding two kills and eight digs. Borr led the team in digs with 17. Next was the final game of the season against the University of Rochester. In their previous matchup this year, they faced off in the UAA Round Robin 3, and Rochester won 3-0. 

At first it looked like Rochester might repeat that outcome. In set one, the Judges nearly made a six-point comeback, but the YellowJackets took the lead and didn’t give it up. Rochester won set one 25-20. Set two saw the Judges take the lead and command it for most of the set. They built a lead when they were up 18-9, as they doubled Rochester’s score. But Rochester then began getting chunks of points at a time. All of the sudden, the game was 23-22 in favor of Brandeis. That lead evaporated in no time. Rochester ended up closing out the set with a 4-1 run to steal the set away from the Judges. Every set moving forward could be the Judges’ last. In set three, the Judges took the lead and made sure to hold on to it. The team was led by big kills from junior Ella Pereira ’24 and sophomore Tatianna Wainer ’25. Brandeis ended up taking set three 25-20. The comeback was officially on. Set four was controlled by the Judges the entire time. Brandeis used 4-0 and 6-0 runs to build up their lead. The team got consecutive kills from Bent and White that helped lead the team to the set win. Pereira capped off the strong set with a kill to even the match at 2-2, after the Judges won set four 25-16. Then came set five. It was the first and only match that reached five sets the entire season. The Judges set the tone early with a 6-1 start that ended with a big kill from White. Brandeis continued to build that lead and all of a sudden there was nothing that Rochester could do to stop them. Everyone was playing well. There were kills from Grom-Mansencal, Wainer, White and Bent as they got the score to 14-7. Then, just like in the previous set, Pereira ended the set with a kill. The Judges had done it. They completed the reverse sweep to win the match against Rochester 3-2. 

Bent led the team in kills with 17, with White and Pereira right behind her. Grom-Mansencal had an all-around strong game with 37 assists, 15 digs and a kill. Borr led the team in digs with 28 and was followed by Bent with 21 and Pereira with 18. The Judges ended their season with a seventh-place match win. 

Overall, the Judges were 13-15 and 0-7 in conference games. Verstovsek led the team in kills with 275. This total helped get her an All-UAA honorable mention as an outside hitter. Bent was right behind her with 253 kills. She was second on the team in kills and first on the team in digs with 357. This led her to a first team All-Association selection, which was Brandeis’ first since 1990. Grom-Mansencal led the team in assists with 763. Next year, the team will be without Bent, Borr, White, Amelia Oppenheimer ’23 and Talia Freund ’23, however they will still have Verstovsek and Grom-Mansencal. That ends the 2022 volleyball season, and the team begins to prepare for next year.

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