Volleyball falls to Amherst, 3-1

AMHERST, Mass. (taken from an Amherst College press release) -- The Brandeis University volleyball team dropped its second-straight road match tonight, falling to Amherst College, 3-1 (25-23, 19-25, 25-17, 25-23). With the loss, Brandeis falls to 8-3 on the season, while Amherst improves to 10-1.

Trailing 12-7 in the first set, Brandeis got its act together and stormed back to take a 16-15 lead, but it was neck-and-neck the rest of the way. The Jeffs regained the lead at 21-20 and managed to hang on for a thrilling 25-23 first-set victory, with first-year Katherine Kanoff driving home the winning kill on a set from senior captain Claire Holton-Basaldua.

With the teams deadlocked at 14-14 in the second set, the Judges took control and went on a 10-3 run en route to a 25-19 win to tie the match at one set apiece. Kanoff and sophomore Laura Hyman got Amherst going in the third set by combining for blocks on each of the Jeffs’ first two points, with Hyman also closing out the set with a kill to seal her team’s 25-17 win.

Hyman continued to come up big at the right times, as her kill in the fourth set broke an 11-11 tie and ended what was one of the longest rallies of the night. After Hyman ignited a 3-0 run that was met by three straight points from the Judges, Amherst senior Alison Munzer capped off another 3-0 run with a spike to give the Jeffs a 17-14 advantage.

Brandeis continued to find answers for every Amherst surge, as the teams found themselves knotted at 18-18 and 19-19 before the Judges regained the lead at 20-19. After a Brandeis ball-handling error gave Amherst a 24-23 lead, Hyman put the match away with her 13th kill of the night, marking a new career high for the sophomore middle hitter.

Junior right-side Piera Carfagno (Los Angeles, Calif.) led the Brandeis attack with 14 kills, while sophomore outside hitter Paige Blasco (Greeley, Colo.) paced the defense with 25 digs. Junior defensive specialist Lauren Polinsky (White Plains, N.Y.) added 16 digs, senior tri-captain Violette Ruggiero (Paradise Valley, Ariz.), filling in at setter for Abby Blasco, had 39 assists and a pair of service aces, and sophomore middle blocker Nicole Smith (Marrieta, Ga.) totaled six blocks to go along with her 10 kills.

The Judges take on Middlebury College and Westfield State College tomorrow at 11 and 2.