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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Women’s volleyball plays home opener, splits matches

Published: September 18, 2009
Section: Sports

Set, bump, spike: Number 16 Nicole Smith ‘11 spikes the ball on her way to winning All-Tournament Honors. <br /><i>PHOTO BY Lien Phung/The Hoot</i>

Set, bump, spike: Number 16 Nicole Smith ‘11 spikes the ball on her way to winning All-Tournament Honors.
PHOTO BY Lien Phung/The Hoot

The Brandeis women’s volleyball team had their home opening tournament, the Brandeis Invitational last weekend and split their games on Friday, beating Rhode Island College in straight sets before faltering against Williams 3-1, and Saturday, falling to Tufts 3-0 before taking out Babson 3-0. “This weekend’s tournament was a good test for us, as we had some of the top teams from our region competing in it,” said head coach Michelle Kim.

The two teams the Judges were most interested in were Williams and Tufts, as they were ranked among the top teams in the region last year and had nearly all players returning this season. “Unfortunately, we did not have a good showing overall this weekend, and we need to work harder at practice to clean up some things,” Kim told The Hoot in an e-mail. “But we’re looking forward to seeing them again later in the season.”

The Judges dominated their home opening game against Rhode Island College, taking them down 25-14, 25-12, 25-20. Strong starts in all three games allowed them to make quick work of their opponent. Rookie Becca Fischer led Brandeis with a .538 percentage thanks to seven kills and no errors in 13 attempts, followed closely by Bridget McAllister ’10 who had only two errors in 25 attempts in addition to 14 kills for a .480 percentage in the game.

In the second game of the day against Williams, Brandeis won the first set 25-20 thanks to a 6-1 run at the end of the set started off by a kill by Paige Blasco ’11. The Judges were unable to maintain momentum from the first game against RIC. Williams fought hard to take the second set of the game 25-23 and won the next two 25-14, 25-22. Nicole Smith ’11 put up an impressive .600 percentage, with only two errors in 20 attempts in addition to 14 kills, but it was not enough to carry Brandeis to victory.

The Judges dropped their first match Saturday against Tufts in straight sets, 27-25, 25-15, 25-18. While Brandeis held a slim 23-19 lead in the first set, Tufts was able to come back in the next to bring the score within one. Blasco registered a kill to bring it to set point with the score of 24-22, but Brandeis was unable to hold on when Tufts delivered kills on the next four out of five shots and finally took the set on an error by Brandeis. Errors plagued the Judges in the second set, where Tufts was able to take the 25-15 win. Although Brandeis started off the third set with an 8-8 tie, their opponents went on an impressive run to claim the final set and eventually the game.

After their defeat in the morning, the Judges came back to defeat Babson 25-20, 25-9, 25-20. Brandeis had 15 hitting errors in the game, but were able to move past these mistakes thanks to numerous block and nine service aces. McAlister led the team with seven kills.

Despite splitting their games, the home opener did end on a high note for the Judges. Smith earned All-Tournament honors after putting up 27 kills and five errors on 50 attempts to bring her to a .440 hitting percentage.

With the results from this weekend, the Judges record moves up to 7-3, one that coach Kim is proud of. “We are off to a great start,” she said. “Our players have been working very hard at practices and we had a very productive pre-season, and it has paid off for us.”

The Judges played Thursday at Endicott but the final score was not available before the paper went to print. They will face Tufts again Tuesday at home at 7 p.m. Kim remains optimistic about their chances this season. “[I] know that there’s still lots of work to be done. Our players know this…and they’re ready to work hard so that we can grow as a team.”