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Women’s volleyball stumbles at Babson but comes back strong at Clark

On Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m., the Brandeis Judges’ women’s volleyball team played Babson College in the Red Auerbach Arena at Brandeis. The Judges lost to the Babson Beavers 3-0, with scores of 25-22, 25-23, 25-15.

The Judges stayed in the first two sets late, with the opener tying at 19 then at 22 until the Beavers forced them into three straight errors, taking the set. In the second set, the Judges opened strong, owning a 13-7 lead. The Judges maintained this lead at a score of 17-14, but the Beavers scored six points in a row, taking the lead at a score of 20-17. After two kills from Lara Verstovsek ’25, the score climbed to 23-22, though the Beavers were able to score two of the three remaining points, taking that set as well. The third set was a rapid victory for the Beavers, who opened on scores of 6-0 then 10-1 before quickly finishing the set.

During the match, Verstovsek continued her streak of strong plays, leading all players with a total of 14 kills. She was overall third on the team with seven digs. Additionally, Anna Ertischek ’26 scored eight kills—no other player on the Judges scored more than three. Setter Ines Grom-Mansencal ’24 ended the match with 21 assists and eight digs, tying with Alexis Pohlmann ’27 for team-high honors. Hannah Waldron ’27 set a new career high with a total of four blocks.

After this match, the Judges stood at a record of 4-2 for the season.

Following this, on Thursday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m., the Judges traveled to Worcester, Massachusetts to play Clark University. After losses in the initial two sets, the Judges came back and were able to defeat the Clark University Cougars in the three following sets, winning 3-2. The set scores for this match were 22-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-12, 15-7.

In the first set, the Cougars had a strong start, hitting .262 as opposed to the Judges’ .181. Opening with a 6-1 run for the Cougars, the Judges managed to catch up and tie the game at 13 points, ultimately losing the lead with a score of 14-19 then 22-25. In the second set, the Cougars started off strong once again with a 6-2 lead and never trailed, winning the set with a lead of 25-18. Things turned around for the Judges in the third set, where they opened with a score of 9-7. On the serve of the Cougars’ Cameron Gill, the Judges lost their lead, sitting at a deficit of 9-12. However, on the serve of Arianna Jackson ’25, Brandeis responded with a 5-0 run, during which Verstovsek scored two kills and a block—bringing the Judges back to the lead with a score of 17-16. After a bout of trading points, the set was tied at 23 until the Judges took a one-point lead due to a service error by the Cougars, extending the match and finishing with a score of 25-23 thanks to a block by Verstovsek and Jackson. The final two sets saw the Judges dominating, with a combined total of 19 kills and three errors in 36 attacks—a .444 hitting percentage. In the fourth set, they hit .348 (11 K-3 E-23 TA), scoring 10 straight points on the serve of Olivia Nirode ’27. This turned a 7-7 tie to a 17-7 lead before the eventual 25-12 victory. In the fifth and final set, the Judges hit eight kills and no errors in 13 attacks for a .615 hitting percentage. The Judges won 10 of the last 12 points in this set to earn a victory of 15-7.

During this match, Verstovsek tied her career high with 23 kills and 12 errors in 53 attacks for a total hitting percentage of .206—this was her second career match with more than 20 kills. Verstovsek also scored 11 digs for her fourth double-double of the season. Ertischek had 13 kills and four errors in 30 attacks for a .300 hitting percentage, her fourth of the season in a total of seven matches. Grom-Mansencal had 33 assists and four kills with no errors in seven attacks for a .571 hitting percentage. Jackson had eight blocks at the net, including three solo blocks, as the Judges posted a season high of 12 overall blocks—no other player had more than three. The defense led by Pohlmann and Nirode had 60 digs, with 13 and 12 each respectively. Verstovsek added 11 to this total as well. Finally, Nirode had a team-high three service aces.

Following this match, the Judges stood at a season record of 5-2.

The Judges then played on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. against Simmons College at home.

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