Since last publication, the Judges’ women’s volleyball team has played five matches, all hosted at Brandeis. On Oct. 20, they faced off against Emerson College and lost 1-3. Then, on Oct. 22, Emory University defeated them 3-0 before Brandeis won 3-0 themselves against the University of Rochester (UR). Smith College came to Brandeis next on Oct. 26, defeating the Judges 3-2. Bowdoin College were the next visitors, with the Judges losing the match 1-3. Finally, on Oct. 31, Brandeis hosted Endicott College, overcoming the visitors with a 3-1 score.
In the first match, the Judges hosted the Emerson College Lions. The match resulted in a 3-1 score for the Lions, with set scores of 25-16, 20-25, 25-22, 25-19. The first two sets were a back-and-forth for the two teams, with Emerson taking the first and Brandeis taking the second. In the first set, the Lions held a hitting percentage advantage with .286 to .053, while the Judges had the advantage in the second set with .231 to -.026. The third set was neck-to-neck, though Emerson was able to score six of the final nine points to take the win, 25-22. In the fourth set, the opponents initially reached a 13-all tie, broken by a 7-1 run from the Lions. With the scoreboard at 20-14, the teams traded points until Emerson took the set, 25-19.
During the match, Lara Verstovsek ’25 set the pace offensively with 13 kills as well as 12 digs—the player’s eighth double-double of the season. Anna Ertischek ’26 additionally scored 11 kills, giving her at least 10 in seven of her last eight matches. Rita Lai ’24 scored an additional nine kills with a team-high three block assists, while Ella Pereira ’24 led the defense with a season-high 19 digs—leading all players. Finally, Julia Liang ’26 scored a career-high 35 assists. This was the player’s second match in a row in which she broke this personal record.
After this match, the Judges stood at a record of 7-11 for the season.
The next match was the first of two that took place on Oct. 22 as part of the third University Athletic Association (UAA) Round Robin of the season. The Judges faced off against the first visiting team, the Emory University Eagles, and lost 0-3 with set scores of 17-25, 18-25, 17-25. In each set, Brandeis opened with early leads but were overtaken by strong runs from Emory. The Eagles scored a 9-1 streak in the first set, a 6-1 streak in the second and an 8-0 streak in the third to win each set.
The Judges’ offensive pace was set here by Ertischek, who scored 11 kills—tying for match-high honors. This was Ertischek’s fourth consecutive match with 10 or more kills and eighth in her last nine matches. Verstovsek scored an additional eight kills while the rest of the team combined for a remaining pool of seven kills. Pereira had 11 digs while Verstovsek was close behind in this regard with 10 digs of her own. Ines Grom-Mansencal ’24 had 15 assists to the team’s 26 total kills. Arianna Jackson ’25 had three blocks, with both teams being at an even five at the net.
The second match of the day was played against the UR Yellowjackets, in which Brandeis found a 3-0 victory with set scores of 25-18, 26-24, 25-16. This was the Judges’ best-hitting match of the UAA season, with a nearly .300 hitting percentage—specifically .297—consisting of 39 total kills and 12 errors in 91 attacks. Defensively, Brandeis held UR to .156 hitting (33 K-16 E-109 TA) due to 1 48-53 advantage in digs.
During the match itself, the first set was tight, with seven ties and two lead changes early on. The Yellowjackets were able to edge a 5-4 lead out of the Judges due to an error from the latter, but Brandeis was able to respond with a 5-1 run. With a block from Grom-Mansencal, the Judges took a 9-6 lead. UR briefly reached an 11-all tie before a pair of kills from Lai led to a 5-0 run for Brandeis, who followed this lead to victory in the first set. The second set was largely dominated by the Yellowjackets, who began with a three-point lead and maintained a lead of at most four points throughout the set. After a service error from the Judges, UR had the first set point as the scoreboard showed 24-22. However, Verstovsek was able to respond with a kill that sparked Brandeis to win the final four points of the set, closing with a service ace from Lai and another kill from Verstovsek. The Judges breezed through the third set, opening with a 4-3 lead which continued to grow throughout, ending in a nine-point lead by the end of the set.
Verstovsek and Ertischek led the offense in this match, with 18 kills and a .324 percentage and 13 kills and a .522 percentage respectively. Grom-Mansencal here had 33 assists and a team-high 11 digs—the players’ fourth double-double of the season. Verstovsek and Pereira each had 10 digs, with this marking the former’s ninth double-double of the season. Alexis Pohlmann ’27 saw nine digs, nearly giving the Judges a fourth player in the double figures.
After these matches, the Judges stood at a record of 8-12 for the season, with a record of 1-6 in the UAAs.
The following match was against the visiting Smith College Pioneers. The match went for a long five sets before an eventual Brandeis 3-2 loss. The set scores were 25-21, 25-22, 17-25, 15-25, 15-10. In the opening set, the opposing teams tied six times and changed leads three times. The Pioneers were initially in a 12-11 deficit, but were able to take a 22-14 lead with an 11-2 run, following this to take the set. In the second set, Smith had a strong lead before Brandeis caught up to tie at 21 points. After trading attack errors, the Pioneers were able to edge out the set victory with the final three points. The third set saw things turn around for the Judges, with the team hitting .290 with 12 kills to extend the match. Smith had an initial lead of 12-11 in this set before a pair of kills from Jackson and Lai, sparking a run from Brandeis that led to a 21-14 domination—guaranteeing the win for the Judges. The fourth set was an easy Brandeis victory, with 18 kills and a hitting average of .412 for a 25-15 victory. In the fifth and final set, Verstovsek and Ertischek added eight and six kills respectively for an early Judges lead. Two blocks by Tatiana Wainer ’25 and an additional kill by Ertischek brought the score to 6-6 before the Pioneers went on a 6-2 run to gain a 12-8 advantage. At the end of the set and match, despite one more kill from Verstovsek, Smth was able to score the three points needed to take the final victory.
During the match, Verstovsek set a career-high 25 kills. Ertischek scored 18 kills and hit .309, with Wainer contributing six kills and five blocks. Megan Margolis ’26 led in assists with a total of 26, with Grom-Mansencal coming close with 22 assists. Pereira had a match-high 19 digs, with Verstovsek contributing another 13 digs. Jackson had a match-high tie for most blocks, with a total of five. Overall, the Judges hit .218 in the match and set a season high with 61 kills.
After this match, the Judges stood at a record of 8-13 for the season.
Next, Brandeis hosted the Bowdoin College Polar Bears, losing the match 3-1 with set scores of 25-15, 25-18, 19-25, 25-23. In the first set, the Polar Bears built a strong 11-6 lead, though the Judges began bridging the gap thanks to back-to-back kills from Verstovsek. In response, Bowdoin scored a kill which triggered a 9-2 run, taking the set for the visitors. The second set followed with a Polar Bears lead of 17-11. The Judges were able to come close to a tie at certain points, but the Polar Bears ended the set with a 5-0 run. As the first two had, the third set began with a Bowdoin lead—7-5—but a kill from Verstovsek sparked a 10-3 Brandeis run that put the home team in the lead. The Polar Bears nipped at the Judges’ feet on several occasions, tying the score on two occasions, but the Judges took the set with a final 8-2 run. Brandeis continued in this vein at the opening of the fourth set, taking a 12-5 advantage. Bowdoin slowly caught up to this lead, however, eventually taking the lead at 19-18 on a kill. From there, the teams traded points until the Polar Bears took the set and match with a kill and a block.
Verstovsek contributed the bulk of the Judges’ power this match with 16 kills, three aces and two blocks. Ertischek was strong in kills as well, with a total of 11. Liang scored 20 assists, with Margolis contributing 19 assists of her own in addition to 13 digs. Pereira and Olivia Nirode ’27 had eight and nine digs respectively, building the Brandeis defense. Finally, Wainer had four blocks.
After this match, the Judges stood at a record of 8-14 for the season.
Most recently at time of writing, the Judges hosted the Endicott College Gulls on Oct. 31. This match was a Judges victory with set scores of 25-17, 17-25, 25-17, 25-22. The first set was a rapid Brandeis lead as they outhit Endicott .379 to .115. The Gulls took the lead later with a score of 9-5 before the Judges responded with a run of 10 uninterrupted points. With the decisive 15-9 lead, Brandeis was able to take the set 25-17 with relative ease. In the second set, the two teams had a combined .595 hitting percentage. The Gulls outshot the Judges with .667 (15 K-1 E-21 TA) to .524 (12 K-1 E-21 TA), with a 25-17 win of their own. The third set saw the lowest attack numbers for both teams, though Brandeis’ .280 percentage (11 K-4 E-25 TA) still beat Endicott’s .000 (8 K-8 E-29 TA). The Judges were in a 10-12 deficit before going on a 9-2 run to take a 19-14 lead that they followed to another 25-17 victory. In the fourth and final set, Brandeis found itself in leads of 5-1 and 9-3, which Endicott was able to climb up to a 15-14 Judges lead and then a 16-all tie. A kill from Wainer began a 7-0 run which, after a few match points successfully staved off by the Gulls, resulted in a 25-22 victory.
During the match, Verstovsek led in kills with a total of 18. She also had three errors in 32 attacks for a total .439 hitting percentage. In addition, she scored two service aces and two block assists to finish the match with 21 points. Ertischek contributed an additional 14 kills with one error in 31 attempts for a .419 percentage. Liang and Margolis contributed significant assists, with 29 and 16 respectively. Pereira led the Judges’ defense with 12 digs—Margolis added eight. Jackson led the defense at the net with six blocks—including one solo—with the Judges overall finishing with 10 blocks to their opponents’ four.
After this match, the Judges stood at a record of 9-14 for the season.
The Judges next traveled to Wellesley, Massachusetts on Nov. 2 to compete against Wellesley College.