Volleyball downs Eastern Nazarene in home opener, 3-0

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University volleyball team (4-5) opened its home schedule in style tonight, dispatching visiting Eastern Nazarene College (5-5) in three straight games.

Brandeis cruised to victory in the opening game, 30-17. The Crusaders were much more active in the second game. The Judges led early, 13-7, but ENC rallied to cut the margin to 20-19 before Brandeis head coach Michelle Kim called a timeout. Brandeis won eight of the next 11 points to take a 28-22 lead. The visitors rallied, getting back to within 29-28 before rookie middle hitter Becca Schwartz (Newcastle, N.H.) executed a successful tip to give Brandeis the 30-28 win.

In game three, ENC started quickly, winning six of the first nine points. The Judges rallied to take a 7-6 lead, however, and the teams were tied at 10-10. Brandeis won on an 8-1 run to open an 18-11 advantage, the Crusaders answered again, climbing to within 18-16. Rookie setter Violette Ruggiero (Paradise Valley, Ariz.) recorded service aces on four of the next five points to reopen a seven-point lead, and the Judges pulled away for the 30-19 win, with sophomore opposite Ashley Powers (Waltham, Mass.) recorded a kill on the penultimate point and serving the match-winner.

Rookie outside hitter Lorraine Wingenbach (Buffalo, N.Y.) led all players in the match with 11 kills, while sophomore middle hitter Jenny Sandler (Stafford, Va.) had nine and Schwartz had eight. Defensively, Ruggiero led Brandeis with 15 digs, a career-high, while Wingenbach had 14 digs. Schwartz contributed six blocks (three solo) and led the team with a .312 hitting percentage.

Eastern Nazarene was paced by senior Courtney Kosmerl (Stroudsburg, Pa.) with eight kills, while junior Amber Crow (Spokane Valley, Wash.) had eight. Rookie libero Christina Ludwick (Meredith, N.H.) had 10 digs and a pair of service aces.