Since last publication, the Judges’ volleyball team played three times, first hosting the United States Coast Guard Academy on Oct. 5, then traveling to the University of Chicago (UC) to participate in the University Athletic Association (UAA) Round Robin meets on Oct. 8 to play their hosts as well as Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). The Judges were able to win against Coast Guard with a score of 3-1, while they lost both of their UAA games 0-3.
The first match against Coast Guard was a Brandeis victory with a match score of 3-1 and set scores of 25-22, 25-21, 20-25, 25-22. The Judges began with a 2-0 lead in the first two sets, hitting .240 in the first and .333 in the second, while the Coast Guard Bears hit .129 in each of the sets. Lara Verstovsek ’25 scored 14 kills throughout the first two sets, with Anna Ertischek ’26 having six kills in her first seven attempts for an .857 percentage. The Judges also made eight team blocks in the first two sets as opposed to the Bears’ four. During that span, Arianna Jackson ’25 had five block assists. The third set was won by Coast Guard, where the visiting team hit a match-high .250 (11 K-4 E-28 TA) while the Judges hit .065 (10 K-8 E-31 TA). The Bears continued this hot streak at the start of the fourth set with a 12-3 lead. After getting the serve back thanks to a kill from Ertischek, Jackson maintained it until the Judges were able to come back, tying the set at 12-all. During this run, five of the nine points scored by the Judges came via the block, with Tatiana Wainer ’25 scoring four assists and one solo. After a blocking error, the Judges briefly lost their momentum before three straight kills from Wainer, Rita Lai ’24 and Ertischek put Brandeis back in the lead at 15-13. Over the rest of the set, Coast Guard returned to the lead twice more at 18-17 and 22-21, but the Judges closed out the match with a 4-0 run launched by back-to-back service aces from setter Ines Grom-Mansencal ’24.
During the match, Verstovsek led all other players in kills, with a season and career high of 24. This was her third match with 20 or more kills for this season and fourth for her career. With 11 digs, this was also Verstovsek’s sixth double-double of the season. Additionally, she had nine errors in 59 attempts for a .254 hitting percentage. Ertischek finished the match with 13 kills and two errors for a .254 hitting percentage. Grom-Mansencal had 19 assists and three service aces with Julia Liang ’26 scoring 18 assists when off the bench. Ella Pereira ’24 scored 17 digs, leading the Judges’ defense with a team total of 50. Finally, at the net, the Judges ended the match with 18 blocks divided evenly between Jackson and Wainer who both set career highs with nine. All of these blocks were assists with the exception of one of Wainer’s blocks, which was a solo.
After this match, the Judges stood at a record of 7-7 for the season.
Three days later, on Oct. 8, the Judges traveled to Chicago, Illinois, to participate in the second of three UAA Round Robin meets held at UC. They first played the UC team, but lost the match 0-3, with set scores of 25-16, 25-15, 25-11. During the match, UC hit a percentage of .253 while Brandeis hit -.042. UC also scored 46 digs as opposed to the Judges’ 35 and seven service aces as opposed to one from Brandeis. During the match, Ertischek led Brandeis in kills with six, while Grom-Mansencal recorded her second double-double of the season with 12 assists and 12 digs.
Later that day, the Judges geared up for their second match, this time against CMU. This was also a Brandeis loss with a score of 0-3 and set scores of 25-22, 25-12, 25-23. The opening and final sets were close, but both ultimately ended in a Brandeis loss. In the opening set, the Judges fought off two set points from CMU before their loss. In the third set, meanwhile, Brandeis started with an 8-1 deficit, though managed to catch up later in the set. Thanks to a pair of kills from Ertischek on the serve of Verstovsek, the Judges were able to close a deficit of 15-9 to one. The opponents traded points until CMU took the lead with 18-16. Olivia Nirode ’26 then served a 5-0 run which included a pair of blocks by Lai and Jackson which gave the Judges a 21-18 lead. The tide turned in CMU’s favor at the end of the match, however, as they closed on a 7-2 run to take the set 25-23.
During the match, Verstovsek and Ertischek set the pace for the Judges’ offense with 11 and 10 kills respectively. No other Brandeis had more than three kills. The Judges also had an 8-4 advantage in blocks, paced by four kills from Jackson and three each from Verstovsek and Lai. Pereira scored 14 digs and Grom-Mansencal scored 13 in addition to 21 assists for a double-double.
After these matches, the Judges stand at a record of 7-9 for the season and 0-5 for the UAAs.
The Judges’ volleyball team will next play on Oct. 17, where they will host Tufts University.