WALTHAM, Mass. — The Brandeis University volleyball team celebrated their two seniors today, setter Yael Einhorn (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill East) and outside hitter Si-Si Hensley (Fullerton, Calif./Troy), but the Judges were unable to pull out a victory in their final matches before the University Athletic Association championships next weekend. Brandeis fell to Endicott College, 3-0, in the opener of the tri-match, and took Connecticut College to the distance before falling, 3-2. The Judges are now 10-22 overall headed into the UAA championships.
In the opener against Endicott, Brandeis had more kills (42-37), digs (71-70) and service aces (7-6) than the visitors, but 27 Judge attacking errors to just 11 for the Gulls, plus a 10-2 margin in blocks made the difference. After dropping the first set, 25-21, the Judges had a chance to even the match when they jumped out to a 17-6 lead. They were ahead by nine at 21-12, when Endicott made a mad charge back into the match. The Gulls closed the set on a 14-3 run to escape with a 26-24 victory. In the final set, EC never trailed, scoring seven-straight points to break a 4-4 deadlock and rolling to the 25-18 win. The third set was especially painful for the Judges, as senior Einhorn was injured midway through the set.
For the match, Endicott senior Callie Dolan (Westford, Mass./Westford Acad.) led all players with 14 kills and had just three errors for a .306 hitting percentage. Brandeis junior outside hitter Liz Hood (Albuquerque, N.M./Albuquerque Acad.) had 12 kills and a .265 hitting percentage, while classmate Carly Gutner-Davis (Del Mar, Calif./Canyon Crest Acad.) had 10 kills and four errors in 20 attempts for a .300 percentage. Hensley had a match-high 21 digs, while EC's Erika Trudon (Coventry, Conn./Coventry) had 20. Hood added 18 digs and Dolan had 11, as each registered double-doubles. Rookie middle blocker Hayley Knapp (Valencia, Calif./Valencia) finished with six blocks (two solo). Einhorn finished with 25 assists for the Judges –she is fourth on the career list with 2550 - and sophomore Alleigh VandeMerkt (Riverside, Ill./Riverside Brookfield) had 32 for the visitors.
After Conn. College dispatched Endicott in three sets (25-19, 25-16, 25-17) in the middle match of the tri-match, the Judges and Camels played a two-hour marathon. The Camels held off Brandeis, 25-21, in the first set. In the second, the Judges took a 22-14 lead on three-straight kills by Hensley and hung on for a 25-20 win. The third set was reminiscent of the second set of the first match, as the Judges jumped out to a fast 11-2 lead, but Conn. College clawed back and completed the comeback for a 25-18 victory. Brandeis didn't go quietly in the fourth, however, bouncing back with a 25-22 win. In the fifth, however, the Camels scored five of the first six points, and though Brandeis fended off five match points when trailing 14-7, the Camels got a kill by rookie Ella Johnson (Seal Beach, Calif./Los Alamitos) to close out the match.
For the match, Hood led all players with 21 kills, her season-high and seventh career match with 20. She also had 12 digs, one of five Judges in double figures. Hensley also added a double-double performance with 14 kills and 11 digs, the 25 double-double of her career. Sophomore setter Maggie Swenson (East Lyme, Conn./East Lyme) matched a career-high with 50 assists, while junior libero Elsie Bernaiche (Plantsville, Conn./Southbury) was one dig shy of her season-high with 27.
Conn. College was led by Johnson, who had 12 kills and 13 digs. Sophomore Gabi Taylor (Austin, Texas/St. Stephen's Episcopal) had eight kills and 19 digs, while three other Camels had seven kills. Sophomore libero Jamie Balkin (Glencoe, Ill./Lake Forest Acad.) had 25 digs to pace the visitors while junior middle blocker Annelisa Hohl (Atherton, Calif./Menlo School) had six blocks, three solo.
Brandeis will host the UAA championship next weekend, with three of the top 25 teams in the nation - #6 Emory, #9 Washington University and #19 Chicago – in attendance. Brandeis will face WashU on Friday at noon in the quarterfinals.