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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Undefeated weekend leads to emotional sendoff for Judges’ seniors

Published: November 2, 2012
Section: Sports

Coming off of their wins at the Hall of Fame Invitational last weekend, the women’s volleyball team entered the Judges Classic with an assertive attitude, putting on a show-stopping performance on their home court. The three-straight wins that bumped up their season record to 19-11 proved to be bittersweet for the Judges as they finished up their home game schedule and honored the senior players.

The first game on Friday against the Lasell Lasers set the dominant tone for the Judges. Although they were able to get a head start in the game with kills, the Judges only managed to squeak by with a 21-25 win in the first set as the Lasers fought for a comeback. Steadying out their offensive attack, the Judges easily captured the second and third sets with scores of 13-25 and 7-25.

The high-scoring match for the Judges saw standout performances by a number of players. Leading the way in kills for the Judges, outside hitter Liz Hood ’15 recorded 11, while classmate middle blocker Carly Gutner-Davis ’15 achieved her career-high with 10. Setter Yael Einhorn ’14 had 38 assists, while middle blocker Becca Fischer ’13 commanded the floor with four blocks and nine kills in only 14 attempts. Taking control of the defense, libero Elsie Bernaiche ’15 recorded the team-high 18 digs and defensive specialist Susan Sun ’13 added 12.

Saturday’s double-header against Keene State and Westfield State was welcomed by two victories for the Judges as well as a flower ceremony for the three seniors, Fischer, Lauren Berens and Sun. Brandeis defeated both teams, taking Keene State by a score of 3-1 and crushing Westfield State in three-straight sets.

When asked how she has changed since her first year on the team, Berens described the ways in which playing Brandeis volleyball has made her and her fellow classmates better-rounded players and individuals.

“Since my freshman year as a rookie I think that myself and my fellow seniors have all become more confident players and have helped the team dynamic shift to a more inclusive and welcoming atmosphere. I have also played a variety of positions on the team and have had the opportunity to really learn the game from different points of view,” Berens said. “The most important things I have learned since I started playing are commitment, confidence and teamwork.”

Berens gave a terrific performance in both games, nailing 10 kills and a career-high six service aces against the Keene State Owls, as well as recording a match-high seven kills against the Westfield State Owls. With a record of 16-15, Keene State proved to be a more even-match for the Judges. Taking the third set 25-18 and winning the only set point against the Judges for the entire weekend, the Owls were unable to rebound in the fourth set, resulting in a 3-1 victory for Brandeis. The scores for the match were 20-25, 22-25, 25-18 and 21-25. The other standout players were Hood who scored 18 kills and Bernaiche who contributed 19 digs.

Against the Westfield State Owls, the Judges managed an easy three set blowout. Carrying a record of 9-20, the other Owls were unable to firmly challenge the Judges, whose season-winning record doubles what it was last season. The set scores of the 3-0 match were 12-25, 18-25 and 13-25. Behind Berens, Fischer managed to record a team-high four blocks, while Bernaiche added 15 digs and rookie setter Maggie Swenson ’16 chipped in six assists.

Although the Judges are still preparing for the upcoming UAA Championships, they have surely come a long way throughout the season and their three home victories show that they are a force with which to be reckoned. Looking back on the emotional weekend, Berens said, “Sometimes it is hard to remember that you are playing for everyone else on your team, not just yourself. But this past weekend, everyone came together and played for each other. I could not be more honored to play with the girls on my team.”

“They are amazing players, amazing friends and a family away from home. I am going to miss them all so much,” she added.