SOUTH HADLEY and NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – The Brandeis volleyball team improved to 16-11 this season after winning two of three matches at the 2012 Hall of Fame Invitational at Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges. The Judges swept Bridgewater State, 25-20, 25-19, 25-18, on Friday night in their opener at MHC. After falling to Middlebury, 19-25, 23-25, 16-25, at Mount Holyoke on Saturday morning, the squad rebounded for a five-set win over co-host Smith, 25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 18-25, 15-11, in the final match of the tournament.
In the opener against Bridgewater State, the Judges had a balanced performance with four players turning in double-digit statistical performances. The lone double-double of the match came from junior setter Yael Einhorn (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East), who had 28 assists and a team-high 11 digs. Junior outside hitter Si-Si Hensley (Fullerton, Calif./Troy) just missed a double-double of her own, leading the team with 11 kills and adding nine digs. Sophomore libero Elsie Bernaiche (Plantsville, Conn./Southington) added 10 digs, while classmate OH Liz Hood (Albuquerque, N.M./Albuquerque Acad.) had 10 kills.
Against Middlebury, the eighth-ranked team in New England according to the New England Women's Volleyball Association, no Brandeis player reached double figures in kills, with Hood topping the team with nine and Hensley added seven. Einhorn had 24 assists and Bernaiche 10 digs. After getting seven blocks against BSU, the Judges had just three against the Panthers.
The Judges' final match of the tournament was one of the most exciting. Brandeis improved to 4-1 in five-set matches with their win over the Pioneers. Hood paced the way again with 15 kills, but it was the team's middle blockers who made the difference, combining for 31 kills and 12 errors in 76 attempts for a .250 hitting percentage. Senior Lauren Berens (Boulder, Colo./Clearview) had a season-high 12 kills to lead the trio, along with two block assists. Classmate Becca Fischer (San Antonio, Texas/Clark) had 10 kills and just three errors in 20 attempts for a .350 percentage and one block assist. Rookie Maddie Engeler (Sandusky, Ohio/St. Mary Central Catholic) came up just short of a double-double as she added nine kills and a career-high 10 blocks, including four solo. Four different players had double-digits in digs, led by Bernaiche's 25 and 16 by Hensley. Senior Susan Sun (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) added 12 and Hood completed her second double-double of the season with 11 digs. With 34 kills for the tournament, Hood claimed All-Tournament honors.