Volleyball drops Amherst Classic opener to hosts, 3-0

AMHERST, Mass. (courtesy Amherst sports information) -- The Brandeis volleyball team, ranked sixth in New England, dropped its second-straight match against another ranked team, falling to host Amherst, 3-0, in the Amherst Classic opener. Set scores were 25-22, 25-21, 25-19.

The Judges scored the first three points of the opening set, but a Brandeis service error led to a 6-1 Amherst run. The Jeffs maintained a lead until the visitors broke a 12-12 tie after a long rally, and Brandeis soon held a 17-13 advantage thanks to a four-point spurt. Amherst hit its stride and regained the lead at 20-19 after a service ace, closing out the first set on an 11-3 run for the 25-21 win.

Brandeis controlled the second set before some sluggish play allowed Amherst to creep back into it. The Jeffs were finally able to take the lead at 19-18 and soon closed out the 25-22 win. The final set was much of the same, with the Judges looking sharp early only to have Amherst pull away down the stretch. The Jeffs led by as many as eight points before closing out the match with a 25-19 result.

The Judges were paced by senior middle blocker Nicole Smith (Marietta, Ga./Alan C. Pope), who had 10 kills and a .474 hitting percentage (10 K-1 E-19 TA) on offense and three blocks (one solo) on defense. Unfortunately, Smith was the only player for the Judges with a positive hitting percentage. Senior setter Abby Blasco (Greeley, Colo./Frontier Acad.) had 21 assists, while twin sister Paige led the squad with 14 digs. Sophomore outside hitter Susan Sun (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) added 10 digs.