ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- The Brandeis volleyball team split its first two matches of the University Athletic Association (UAA) volleyball tournament pool play at Washington University. The Judges dropped their opening match against top-seeded and top-ranked Emory University, 3-0, testing the Eagles in the third set before falling. Set scores were 25-14, 25-12, 27-25. Senior outside hitter Lorraine Wingenbach (Buffalo, N.Y.) and junior right-side Piera Carfagno (Los Angeles, Calif.) tied for team-high honors with nine kills each. Sophomore setter Abby Blasco (Greeley, Colo.) had 19 assists, four blocks and a team-high eight digs.
The Judges then avenged one of their four regular-season UAA losses, defeating the University of Chicago, 3-2, in a marathon match. After Brandeis won the first two sets, 25-20, 25-19, the Maroons answered with 25-22 triumphs in the next two. The Judges bounced back to win their longest fifth set of the season, 24-22, to take the match. Chicago had three match points, but sophomore outside hitter Paige Blasco (Greeley, Colo.) had a solo block at 14-13, sister Abby and sophomore middle blocker Nicole Smith (Marietta, Ga.) had a block at 18-17 and Wingenbach had a big kill at 19-18 to help the Judges survive. Wingenbach finished with a season-high 20 kills with a .349 hitting percentage. She added 14 digs and could become Brandeis's all-time leader in the Judges' last two matches of the season on Saturday. Smith had 16 kills with a .500 hitting percentage and five blocks. Abby Blasco had 55 assists, 13 digs and four blocks. Senior Violette Ruggiero (Paradise Valley, Ariz.) led the team with 19 digs.
Tomorrow, Brandeis will play the University of Rochester for a chance to compete in the tournament's third-place match if Emory defeats Chicago.
The Judges enter the Rochester match with a record of to 18-12 overall, 4-5 UAA. Emory is now 28-4, 9-0 UAA, while Chicago is 19-15, 4-5 UAA.