Volleyball goes 3-1 to finish second at Springfield

Volleyball goes 3-1 to finish second at Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The Brandeis volleyball team saw its first weekend action of the season at the Springfield College Invitational, earning a second-place finish. The Judges defeated Roger Williams (3-1), Lasell (3-0) and Westfield State (3-0) before falling to host Springfield, 3-2, in the final match of the tournament. For their efforts, junior outside hitter Paige Blasco (Greeley, Colo/Frontier Acad.) and twin sister, Abby, a setter, were named to the All-Tournament team.

The Judges opened the tournament on Friday night with a four-set win over Roger Williams, 25-18, 14-25, 25-13, 26-24. Paige Blasco and senior right-side Piera Carfagno (Los Angeles, Calif./Campbell Hall) each recorded double-doubles against the Hawks. Blasco had a match-high 17 kills and added 12 digs while hitting for a .350 percentage. Carfango added 11 kills and 10 digs. Abby Blasco had 14 assists and two service aces, while rookie libero Anna Homitsky (Pittsburgh, Pa./Seneca Valley) led the defensive effort with 13 digs.

Brandeis opened the morning session with an easy triumph over local rival Lasell College, 25-11, 25-10, 25-10. Rookie middle blocker Becca Fischer (San Antonio, Texas/Clark) topped the charts with 11 kills and four blocks, while Abby Blasco had the team's lone double-double with 28 assists and 11 digs, along with four service aces. Paige Blasco added eight kills and five digs.

The Blasco sisters were at the front of the squad's third-straight win in the tournament, a 25-10, 25-23, 25-14 triumph over Westfield State. Paige tallied her second double-double of the season with 15 kills and 12 digs, while Abby had 28 assists and seven digs. Carfagno added six kills and 10 digs.

In the ultimate match of the tournament, the Judges fell behind Springfield, dropping the first set, 25-22, but rallied to take a 2-1 lead with wins of 25-20, 25-17. Unfortunately, the toll of three matches in one day caught up with the visitors, as the Pride rallied to win the final two sets, 25-23, 15-10.

Brandeis was paced by Paige Blasco, who was the only member of the Judges' to record double-digit kills with her 19-kill performance. Junior Nicole Smith (Atlanta, Ga./Alan C. Pope) chipped in with nine kills and six blocks, while Abby Blasco registered her second double-double of the tournament with 40 assists and 15 digs.

The Pride owned a 17-11 lead in the first game after a double block from Sarah Lang-Rodean and Kelsea Hellyar, and appeared ready to cruise to victory. The Judges stormed back, making it a 23-22 game after an Abby Blasco kill. Back-to-back errors from the visitors however proved to be costly as the Pride were able to take the 25-22 win.

It was a much different story in the second game as the Pride fell behind early, 16-9, and had trouble getting into a rhythm. Brandeis, which hit .414 in the frame, limited the Pride's attack as the Judges knotted up the contest.

The Pride couldn't get the situation squared away in the third, as they hit -.121 and trailed by as many as eight. Paige Blasco paced the way with four kills and Brandeis took advantage of 11 Springfield attack errors to get within one game of victory.

However, a different Springfield team came out in the fourth as it fought back after trailing early. Down 12-8, the Pride went on a 5-0 run fueled by a pair of Kim Giaquinto aces to take a 13-12 lead. The game featured 14 ties and six lead changes, but a Meaghan Hart ace eventually gave Springfield a 25-23 win and evened the match at two games apiece.

In the final game, Springfield dominated from the first whistle, taking a 7-3 lead after a Lauren Torvi kill. Seemingly in control throughout, the Pride's lead was cut to two after Abby Blasco slammed home a kill to make it 12-10 in favor of SC. Torvi connected on another kill and but back-to-back errors, including the final point which came on a double block from Torvi and Giaquinto, gave Springfield the Invitational crown.

(Brandeis-SC match info taken from a Springfield press release)