November 11, 2009

Three from Brandeis earn volleyball All-UAA honors

WALTHAM, Mass. - Three members of the Brandeis University volleyball team have earned All-University Athletic Association (UAA) status for 2009. Junior outside hitter Paige Blasco of Greeley, Colo., was named to the All-UAA second team. Her twin sister Abby, the team's setter, and junior middle blocker Nicole Smith of Marietta, Ga., were honorable mention selections.

Paige Blasco was an All-UAA honoree last year, her first with the Judges after sitting out her freshman campaign because of injury. Blasco led Brandeis with 3.41 kills per set, finishing third in the UAA, and in digs at 2.80 per set, ranked 16th in the Association. Blasco reached double figures in kills 19 times this season and in digs 17 times, finishing with 11 double-doubles. Paige was selected to the All-Tournament team at the Springfield Invitational, Brandeis's first tournament of the season, Sept. 5 and 6.

Abby Blasco, the 2007 UAA Rookie of the Year, is an All-UAA honorable mention selection for the third year in a row. She finished fourth in the conference with 8.91 assists per set. Abby was second on the team and fifth in the league in service aces, averaging 0.41 per set, while also finishing second on the squad and 18th in the UAA with 2.59 digs per set. She led the squad with 15 double-doubles this season, including her first career triple-double on Nov. 7 against Case Western Reserve University, when she had 42 assists, 12 digs and a career-high 11 kills. Abby was named to three All-Tournament teams during the season, at the Springfield Invitational, the Hall of Fame Invitational at Smith College on Oct. 23 and 24 and the Judges Classic at home on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

Smith was recognized by the UAA for the first time in her career. She led Brandeis and the UAA in blocks, averaging 1.16 per set (41 solo, 99 assists, 140 total). She also led the squad finished second in the Association in hitting percentage at .366. Smith ranked 29th in the nation in blocks and 32nd in hitting percentage in the most recent NCAA Division III statistical report. She was also selected to the All-Tournament team at the Brandeis Invitational, held Sept. 11 and 12.

Overall this season, Brandeis finished at 18-16, 2-9 and sixth place in the University Athletic Association. In head coach Michelle Kim's sixth season at the helm, the Judges led the UAA in blocks, averaging 2.25 per set, among the top 30 in the NCAA. The Judges earned the second seed in the ECAC Division III New England Championship tournament. They host Colby-Sawyer College tonight at 7 p.m. as they attempt to win the ECAC crown for the third time in four years.

Abby and Paige Blasco are 2007 graduates of Frontier Academy. They are the daughters of Leon and Ellie Blasco, Greeley, Colo.

Nicole Smith is a 2007 graduate of Alan C. Pope High School. She is the daughter of Steven and Cindy Smith, Marietta, Ga.