Volleyball cruises by Coast Guard and Keene State, 3-0

Volleyball cruises by Coast Guard and Keene State, 3-0

Brandeis 3, Coast Guard 0 (25-13, 25-21, 25-20)
Coast Guard 3, Keene State 1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-18)
Brandeis 3, Keene State 0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-19)

WALTHAM, Mass. - In the opening match of a tri-match, the Brandeis University volleyball squad had a fine team performance, registering a season-high .408 hitting percentage and season-low six attack errors in defeating the visiting U.S. Coast Guard Academy Bears, 3-0. Set scores were 25-13, 25-21, 25-20. The Judges (12-7) are ranked eighth in New England, while USCGA is seventh (14-3).

Trailing, 9-7, in the first set, Brandeis rattled off five straight points on the serve of senior Bridget McAllister (Santa Clara, Calif./Presentation), including two service aces. A kill by junior Nicole Smith (Marietta, Ga./Alan C. Pope) gave the Judges a 12-9 lead and caused the Bears to call timeout. The visitors clawed back to within 12-11 on a Brandeis error, but the Judges answered with a 10-1 run, including six straight points on the serve of junior setter Abby Blasco (Greeley, Colo./Frontier Acad.) to claim a 22-12 lead en route to a 25-13 victory.

In the second set, Coast Guard scored the first three points, but the Judges responded with four of the next five to knot the set at 4-4. Neither team was able to establish momentum until late in the action. The Bears went ahead, 16-14, on back-to-back errors, but rookie libero Anna Homitsky (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seneca Valley) served four in a row, including an ace that pushed the lead to 19-16. Coast Guard called timeout at that point and went on a 4-1 run, tying the set at 20-20 on a kill by rookie Catherine Walker (Dearborn Heights, Mich.) and a service ace by junior libero Jessica Anderson (Kalamazoo, Mich.). After the teams traded side-outs on the next two points, Brandeis scored the last four points of the set, highlighted by a back-row kill from senior right-side player Piera Carfagno (Los Angeles, Calif./Presentation), to take the set, 25-21.

The Judges never trailed in the third set, scoring the first four points and never looking back. McAllister was instrumental in closing out the match, as she registered the team's last five kills and served the final two points to earn the 25-20 win.

Four different Brandeis players had hitting percentages of .455 or higher in the match. Junior outside hitter Paige Blasco (Greeley, Colo./Frontier Acad.) led the team with a double-double, registering 15 kills and 13 digs while hitting a season-best.483 (15 kills, 1 error, 29 total attacks). McAllister also reached double figures in kills, with 11, while hitting .455 (11 K, 1 E, 22 TA). Abby Blasco had 36 assists, a .600 hitting percentage (6 K-0 E-10 TA) and three service aces, while Smith hit .500 (7 K, 0 E, 14 TA) with three blocks.

Coast Guard was paced by Walker, who had 11 kills, but no other Coast Guard player had more than four. Rookie setter Karen Matic (Oswego, Ill.) registered a double-double with 22 assists and 13 digs, tying for match-high honors. She also had a pair of service aces.

In the day's later matches, Coast Guard defeated Keene State, 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-18), while Brandeis defeated the Owls, 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-19). Brandeis now owns a record of 13-7; Coast Guard is 15-3; and Keene State is 9-14.