Squad ends season in eighth place at UAA Tournament
The women’s volleyball team headed out to Pittsburgh and the University Athletic Association championships for their last set of games this weekend before the season’s end, claiming eighth-place in the tournament. On Friday, the team faced No. 5 Washington University in St. Louis and fell in straight sets with scores of 25-9, 25-8, 25-20. Next, the team moved on to the consolation semifinals against Case Western Reserve University, losing in straight sets 25-9, 25-12, 25-12. For their final match, the Judges played New York University in the UAA tournament’s seventh-place match. The team played a very close match but ended up falling in straight sets by tight margins of 25-20, 25-15, 25-22.
Coming off a pair of losses on Friday and Saturday, the Judges entered Sunday’s seventh-place match against NYU with a point to prove. The team showed their determination in the first set, tied late on in the set at 17-17. The set was up in the air at that point, but NYU took the advantage, getting the lead and then going on an 8-3 run to close the set.
The Judges loosened their grip in the second set, never taking the lead and letting NYU run away with 25-15 set victory. However, the Judges were not done and similarly to their game against WashU earlier in the weekend, made a final push in the last set to keep themselves in the game. The Judges were leading 16-15 with a very good display. However, NYU turned it around, winning the next five points and going on to win the set 25-22. The Judges’ top performer was outside hitter Shemira Pennyman ’15, who played possibly the best match of her college career and was very influential throughout the tournament, tying a match high with 10 kills. With a .368 hitting percentage, she was one of the biggest reason why the Judges were able to push NYU to such close score lines as she scored the best statistics in her college career.
Maddie Engeler ’16 also capped an impressive display with six kills and a .365 hitting percentage.
“Ending the season on a loss was difficult, but we are reflecting on all the good things from the season,” said Engeler. “This season was full of ups and downs, but overall we are all proud to be part of Brandeis volleyball.”
In the match against top-seeded WashU, the Judges came into the tournament hoping to finish their final few games on a high, but Brandeis did not show their stuff until the final set. After being comfortably beaten in the first two sets 25-9 and 25-8, the team made a late push to no avail.
Pennyman started her overall impressive UAA tournament with six kills and a .118 hitting percentage. Engeler finished with four kills and libero Elsie Bernaiche ’15 led the team with seven digs.
Brandeis faced Case in their second match of the UAA tournament. The match ended up being the most one-sided loss of the weekend as, the Judges lost 25-9, 25-12, 25-12.
The scoreline leaned so heavily to Case mostly because of how many attacking errors Brandeis committed. The team had 19 attacking errors overall compared to Case’s impressive four. Bernaiche lead all players with 17 digs, capping an impressive display on her part. Pennyman impressed once again with five kills and a .417 hitting percentage.
Although the Judges conclude their season with a 7-24 record overall and eighth in the UAA, they can look forward to learning from the strong performances they turned in this year, according to Engeler.
“We are celebrating the four wonderful seniors we had and looking forward to a great group of recruits coming in to take their places next year,” said Engeler. “I am looking forward to the great strides we will make in Coach [Alesia] Vaccari's second season at the helm of the team.”