DANBURY, Conn. -- The Brandeis volleyball went 2-1 at the Western Connecticut State Invitational to open the 2011 season. The team got off to a string start, topping Johnson and Wales University in straight sets (25-21, 25-17, 25-22) on Friday evening and downing Kean University handily on Saturday morning (25-12, 25-14, 25-20). In what proved to be the championship match against the hosts, Brandeis fell to the Colonials (24-26, 19-25, 26-28) despite having a set point in both the first and third sets.
In the season opener, the Judges were paced on offense by rookie outside hitter Liz Hood (Albuquerque, N.M./Albuquerque Acad.), who had nine kills, and sophomore OH Si-Si Hensley (Fullerton, Calif./Troy), who had eight. Junior middle blocker Becca Fischer (San Antonio, Texas/Clark) added seven kills in 14 attempts without making an error.
Defensively, another rookie led the way as libero Elsie Bernaiche (Plantsville, Conn./Southington) had 19 digs. Hood had six digs and two blocks, while Fischer had three blocks. Hensley had four digs and two service aces. Sophomore setter Yael Einhorn (Mount Laurel, N.J./Cherry Hill East) had 28 assists and matched Hensley with two aces.
For Johnson & Wales, Audrey Warren (Haverhill, Mass.) led with seven kills, Julie Snarr (Glen Allen, Va.) handed out eight assists, and Giselle Cram-Ortiz (Vega Alta, P.R.) had 13 digs.
On Saturday against Kean, the Judges were efficient on offense, generating 45 kills and just eight errors in 92 attacks for a .402 hitting percentage. Four different Brandeis players hit .450 or better for the match, paced by Fischer, who had five kills and no errors in eight attempts for a .625 percentage, and Einhorn, who converted two of her four attempts. Einhorn also handed out 38 assists, three short of her career-high.
Hood had a team-high 12 kills with just one error in 24 chances for a .458 percentage, while junior Lauren Berens (Boulder, Colo./Fairview) hit .462 (8 K-2 E-13 TA). Hensley also reached double figures in kills with 11.
Defensively, Bernaiche had a team-high 12 digs, while also delivering three service aces. Berens topped the team with two block assists.
Statistics are unavailable for the match against Western Connecticut, but the Judges twice had a chance to win a set, in the first and third, but were unable to put the host Colonials away. Hensley played well in the final match and earned All-Tournament honors.