Volleyball splits 3-1 decisions with local rivals

Liz Hood '15 (Image courtesy Sportspix)

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis volleyball team earned a split on the first day of action at the 2012 Brandeis Invitational. The Judges topped Babson, 3-1, in the opener, but fell to Tufts by the same score in the second match. The Judges are now 4-2 on the season, while Babson was 2-1 after their match and Tufts was 2-0.

In the first match, the two teams split the first two sets, 25-18 for Brandeis and 25-21 for Babson. After another tight set in the third in which the Judges prevailed, 25-22, a fast start to the fourth put the Beavers away, 25-13. Brandeis scored 11 of the first 12 points – including six in a row on the serve of senior Susan Sun (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) - of the set en route to the victory.

Offensively, Brandeis was led by junior outside hitter Liz Hood (Albuquerque, N.M./Albuquerque Acad.), who tied for match-high honors with 13 kills. Hood had just two errors in 27 attempts for a .407 hitting percentage. Senior middle blocker Becca Fischer (San Antonio, Texas/Clark) was the squad's most efficient player in the match with a .467 percentage (9 K-2 E-15 TA). Junior setter Yael Einhorn (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East) had 35 assists and quarterback the team to a .244 hitting percentage, including .379 in the third set and .524 in the fourth, when the Judges had 11 kills and no errors in 21 attempts.

 The team's defensive leaders were sophomore libero Elsie Bernaiche (Plantsville, Conn./Southington), who had 29 digs, and middle blockers Maddie Engeler (Sandusky, Ohio/St. Mary Central Catholic) and Lauren Berens (Boulder, Colo./Fairview), who had six and five blocks each. Bernaiche also had a team-high four service aces.

Babson rookie Mary Donohue (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) tied Hood with 13 kills, while senior setter Kathleen Lynch (Quincy, Mass./North Quincy) had 30 assists for the Beavers. Junior libero Karla Flores (San Juan, P.R./Academia Perpetuo Socorro) had 15 digs.

In the nightcap against Tufts, Brandeis survived a long first set, 27-25, with Hood kills leading to the final two points. The Jumbos were able to go on a 7-1 run in the second, turning an 11-10 deficit into a 17-12 lead en route to a 25-22 win. The second set was tied at 20 when Tufts senior defensive specialist Natalie Bruck (Inverness, Fla./William Friend) served the final four points to give the visitors a 25-20 win and a 2-1 lead. Tufts opened up a 9-3 lead early in the fourth set and never trailed, closing out Brandeis, 25-19.

The Judges were not as efficient hitting the ball, committing 29 errors, compared to the 16 they had against Babson. Hood finished with 12 kills to lead the team, while sophomore outside hitter Si-Si Hensley (Fullerton, Calif./Troy) had nine. Engeler hit for a .462 percentage (7 K-1 E-13 TA). Einhorn finished with 30 assists, while Bernaiche had a match-high 26 digs.

Tufts had two players with double figures in kills, sophomore Kelly Brennan (Burr Ridge, Ill./Fenwick) with 16 and classmate Hayley Hopper (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) with 11. Brennan also topped the Jumbos with 19 digs. Senior setter Kendall Lord (La Jolla, Calif./The Bishop's School) also had a double-double with 41 assists and 12 digs.

- 30 -