Volleyball improves to 2-0 in five-game matches with win over Endicott

BEVERLY, Mass. (courtesy Endicott College) - The Brandeis University volleyball team tuned up for its first foray into University Athletic Association play tonight by defeating host Endicott College, 3-2, in Beverly. The Judges improved to 10-2 on the season, including 2-0 in five-game matches.

The visiting Judges opened the night by taking the first three points in game one. The Gulls were able to fight their way back to even on consecutive blocks, tying the score at 5-all. Brandeis again was able to go on a mini-run, taking the next four points for a, 9-5, lead. Endicott pulled within two, 14-12, on a strong kill by Steph Wiese on the near side. Moments later, Wiese knotted the game at 16-all as she earned another point for the Blue and Green off a nice pass from Meghan Hall. Endicott was able to build their first lead of the game on an assisted block by Hayley Janelle and Brittany Phillips, putting the Gulls ahead, 20-17. Both Brandeis and Endicott traded points over the next several minutes, as the Gulls capped off their come from behind game one win on a kill by Beth Dow, 30-25.

A back-and-forth game two featured several lead changes in the early moments. Endicott's Steph Wiese continued her strong attack, helping lead the Gulls to an 8-7 advantage. The Judges' answered the call, taking eight straight scores on a nice serving stint from Lorraine Wingenbach and picking up a big kill from Nicole Smith to go up, 15-8. Brandeis continued to roll, taking five of the next seven points to increase their lead to 20-10. Piera Carfagno put the final exclamation point on the Judges' game two victory, as she powered home a strong point to double-up the Gulls, 30-15.

A 5-all game three quickly shifted to an, 11-6, Endicott lead. Behind the strong serving of Steph Wiese, the Gulls were able to build a five point advantage nearing the midpoint of the third game. The Judges, however, fought their way back into the contest, and on an impressive block by Nicole Smith, Brandeis was able to pull within one. The Blue and Green recovered from the Judges' comeback and on back-to-back kills from Hayley Janelle and Brittany Phillips, the Gulls were once again out in front. A late charge by BU fell short, as the Gulls took game three, 30-23.

Brandeis jumped out to a convincing seven point advantage in game four behind a stretch of serving from Shannon Trees and powerful net play by junior outside hitter Lorraine Wingenbach. The Judges continued pouring the pressure on, capitalizing on several Endicott miscues to build their lead to 10. Brandeis forced a game five on a Katie Wrynn serve that could not be returned, giving the Judges the game, 30-18.

In the decisive game five, Brandeis took an early 2-1 lead on back-to-back blocks by their front line. The Judges would extend their advantage to three as their up-tempo style kept the Gulls off the scoreboard. Brittany Phillips notched a big point at the Endicott net, pulling the home team back within two. The Judges rattled off the next six scores, including a service ace by Abby Blasco, to build a 12-4 lead. That advantage would prove insurmountable, as the Gulls dropped the game and the match, 15-8.

Brandeis University was led by Wingenbach's 17 kills, five aces and five digs. Blasco paced the Judges with 49 assists, while junior Violette Ruggiero turned in 15 digs in the victory.