Members of the Brandeis women’s volleyball team, head coach Alesia Vaccari, family, friends and fans of this squad have an awful lot to be proud of this season. As the sports editor of the Justice, I have been covering this team for over a year now and I am truly inspired by this team’s incredible transformation. In just one year, the Judges improved their numbers in every major team category per set: assists, digs, service aces, blocks, hitting percentage and kills. Last year’s team finished the regular season with a 7-21 record and ended the year on a 12-game losing streak. This season, the Judges finished with a winning record at 15-14, including an outstanding 9-2 mark at home.

How did they do it? Brandeis’ offseason recruitment pulled in a class of unparalleled talent. The first-year phenoms of right side hitter Marissa Borgert ’21, outside hitter Clare Meyers ’21 and middle hitter Belle Scott ’21 exploded out of the gates in their first collegiate seasons. Borgert led the team in kills with 224, while Meyers and Scott were fifth and sixth with 120 and 118 kills, respectively. Borgert was also third on the team in digs with 162, while Meyers was fourth with 151. Led by team captain libero Yvette Cho ’19, who put up a career-high 481 digs this year, the Judges quickly became a formidable powerhouse in Division III play. While the University Athletic Association playoff tournament did not end as well as the Judges would have liked, this team has every reason to be proud of what they have accomplished in just one season.

Judges 2, NYU 3

Brandeis closed out its regular season with a hard-fought 3-2 defeat in the University Athletic Association seventh-place match against New York University on Saturday. The Judges came out strong, taking the first two sets by scores of 25-13 and 25-21, respectively. However, the Violets stormed back, coming out on top in the final three sets by scores of 25-20, 25-21 and 15-9. 

Outside-hitter Shea Decker-Jacoby ’19 led the team with 13 kills. She also recorded 19 digs, putting in impressive work both on offense and defense for her squad. Borgert continued to add to her already outstanding resume with 11 kills and 12 assists for the match. Setter Marlee Nork ’19 led the team in assists with 20 and added 11 digs as well on defense.

Judges 0, Case 3

The eighth-seeded Judges had a tough time against fifth-seeded Case Western Reserve University on Friday evening, dropping the match 3-0 by scores of 25-16, 25-18 and 25-19.

Despite the loss, Nork shined for the team once again. The setter led the Judges with 10 assists while also totaling three service aces.Middle hitter Emma Bartlett ’20 was a monster at the net with six total blocks for the match. 

Judges 2, Carnegie 3

Brandeis fell just short on Friday against top-seeded Carnegie Mellon University. The team lost 3-2 by scores of 25-21, 28-30, 17-25, 26-24 and 8-15. This was the first ever eighth- versus first-seed match to go five sets in UAA tournament history.

Borgert was amazing in this one, totaling 20 kills, 15 assists and 13 digs. Nork was just as extraordinary with 33 assists and 20 digs for the match. Decker-Jacoby could not be stopped either with 15 kills and 26 digs against the Tartans.