Volleyball: Team seeks to improve results with experience
Published: Monday, August 27, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 12:08
After a promising 7-2 start to the 2011 season, the women’s volleyball team looked to move past their 2010 season woes in a chase for the University Athletic Association title.
The Judges won the first set against Colby-Sawyer College by a score of 25-17 last September 18, but then struggled to stay in the match and eventually fell 16-14 in the fifth and conclusive set. The Judges looked like an entirely different team after that pivotal match, winning just two of the next 21 matches and finishing without a victory in UAA play.
The team, without any seniors and a corps of five first-years last season, certainly experienced its share of growing pains. However, the rookies displayed great promise and are poised to succeed in their second year. Libero Elsie Bernaiche ’15 led the team with 400 digs, while outside hitter Liz Hood ’15 recorded a team-leading 304 kills.
Bernaiche noted that with an experienced core with a greater sense of maturity, the team should be able to maintain its focus in crucial situations and excel in the latter half of the season.
“I believe our team now has the knowledge of what it takes to really succeed this season,” she said. “The maturity of this team allows us to stay calm under pressure this year, rather than lose focus as we have in the past during tough points.”
Bernaiche also stated that, with veteran leadership, the first-years should expect an easier adjustment to collegiate competition.
“We can pass this experience on to the four new [first-years] to help them get used to college-level competition more quickly,” she said. “We can capitalize on this experience by having a lot of returnees guiding the younger players in the positions on the court.”
Setter Yael Einhorn ’14 led the Judges with 726 assists and will be a crucial presence up at the net. Middle blocker Becca Fischer ’13 led the team with 73 blocks and also delivered 144 kills.
Brandeis also returns a formidable outside hitter duo in Si-Si Hensley ’14 and Lauren Berens ’13. Hensley notched 210 digs and 213 kills, while Berens contributed 113 kills. Susan Sun ’13 will anchor the defense as a specialist in her final year on the squad.
Brandeis will face many familiar opponents this season, including the always-challenging UAA teams. With an experienced core, the team looks to avenge its winless record in conference play. The Judges will travel to two UAA round-robin invitationals at the University of Chicago and Carnegie Mellon University.
Bernaiche said that she is optimistic about the team’s prospects and looks forward to seeing the team improve over the full course of the regular season.
“On a smaller scale, we have high expectations for each other, too,” she said. “We really want to see each other work hard and improve every single practice and game.”
Middle blocker Carly Gutner-Davis ’15 agreed, noting that each member of the squad is devoted to helping the Judges succeed this season.
“We have versatile, hardworking and dedicated players who, as a team, are determined to step on the court and put forth their best effort in every competition this coming season,” she said.
“It will be a long and trying season, but at the end of the day, our passion for volleyball and our shared desire to become the best possible players and teammates brings us together."
The Judges begin competition this Friday in a match against Salve Regina University at the Western Connecticut State University Invitational. The squad will then face off against Johnson and Wales University as well as the host Western Connecticut State in a doubleheader on Saturday.