NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (courtesy Smith College press release)-- In their opener at the 2011 Hall of Fame Invitational, the Brandeis volleyball team defeated tournament co-host Smith College, 3-0, tonight. With the 25-16, 26-24, 25-22 victory, the Judges snap a 13-match losing streak and improve to 8-15 on the season. The Pioneers fall to 7-15 with their eighth consecutive loss.
With the first set tied at five, the Judges went on an 9-2 run that boosted their lead to 14-7. Out of the timeout, Smith cut the lead to 17-15, but that was as close as Smith would get as Brandeis scored eight of the next nine points to close out the first set 25-16.
The next set also saw the teams tied at five, but the Pioneers inched out to a 10-9 lead, and when the advantage grew to 15-12, the Judges called timeout. The stoppage in play did nothing to slow the Pioneers, who upped their lead to 18-13, but Brandeis rallied to tie the set at 20 with a 7-2 run. Smith took back the lead at 23-20, but the Judges scored six of the final seven points to take the first set 26-24.
The Judges opened up the final set with a 6-1 lead, but Smith rallied to close within 11-10, where Brandeis was forced to call timeout. A 5-0 run for Brandeis moved the lead back to 16-11, but Smith would rally again, tying the score at 17, and moved in front with two more points to take a 19-18 lead. Brandeis came back to take the lead for good at 21-20, and finished the set with four of the final six points to close out the match 25-22.
Rookie outside hitter Liz Hood (Albuquerue, N.M/Albuquerque Acad.) led the team with 11 kills, hitting for a .368 percentage. Junior middle blocker Lauren Berens (Boulder, Colo./Fairview) was even more accurate, with nine kills and no errors in 15 attempts for a .600 percentage. Junior Becca Fischer (San Antonio, Texas/Clark), also a middle blocker, had a fine performance at the net with six blocks (one solo) to go with seven kills. Rookie libero Elsie Bernaiche (Plantsville, Conn./Southington) led the defensive performance with 19 digs, while sophomore setter Yael Einhorn (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East) had 32 assists, two block assists and a service ace.
The Judges continue action tomorrow with a pair of regionally-ranked teams, No. 12 Amherst and No. 2 Bowdoin.