The Brandeis women’s volleyball team has had a shaky start to their season. After beginning their season in a winning match against Westfield State University, the team went on a six-match losing streak. Finally broken by a win against Worcester State University, the team won that single game before losing three more games, two of them to University Athletic Association opponents Emory University and Carnegie Mellon University. The team then conquered the University of Rochester, another UAA opponent and then lost to Roger Williams University.

That brings us to this week: heading into this first week of October, the team was at an overall record of 3–9. Then on Thursday, the team faced the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Engineers where the Judges won 3–1. On Sunday, the Judges faced two UAA opponents, the Case Western Reserve University Spartans and the University of Chicago Maroons. This time, the Judges were not as successful. In this second round robin UAA tournament that took place in Atlanta, GA, the Judges fell 2–3 and 0–3 to Case Western and Chicago, respectively.

Judges 3, WPI 1

The Judges took down the Engineers in the Red Auerbach Arena in a very impressive showing. The win can be attributed largely to Emerson White ’22, who had many career-setting records. With 15 kills and six blocks, White was a key player in this victorious set of matches that ultimately had scores of 25–15, 23–25, 25–19 and 25–22, particularly because of her kills. The reason for those kills can be attributed to the 28 attempts that she made, another career best for her, which resulted in a hitting percentage of .464. Middle hitter Emma Bartlett ’20 also contributed a significant number of kills to the team’s performance with 13 kills and nine digs. Bartlett’s kill percentage was .296. The other major contribution to the team’s success came from setter Marissa Borgert ’21 who had 41 assists and a kill percentage of .286.

The first set was decided when the Judges scored seven consecutive points after the team alternated the lead, which put the Judges at a score of 13–5. The Judges never looked back and were even at one point ahead by thirteen points with a score of 24–11. The Engineers closed the gap, but the Judges still won the set by nine points. In the second set, the Engineers tried to make up for the first and began with a 10–3 lead. Although the Judges closed the scoring gap, the Engineers went on to win their only set 25–23. 

Following the second set, the Judges pulled through to claim the matchup. In the third, the team proved itself by scoring the set’s first four points. This was when an incredible play happened — which the ESPN SportsCenter’s rated as the tenth best play of the week. The Engineers’ sophomore Suela Miloshi made a play that got the ball over the net and appeared to hit the floor. While the Engineers celebrated, Brandeis libero Kaitlyn Oh ’22 kicked the ball over the net. This is allowed in volleyball and the Judges scored the point. 

With a 5–2 lead, the Judes took the set. Although the gap was closed to 5–4, the team never lost their lead. In the final set, there was a back and forth lead, but the Judges ultimately pulled ahead to take the set 22 –21.

Case Western 3, Judges 2

The Judges could not win two consecutive matchups though, as they fell to the Spartans in a match that took five sets to be decided. The first set was opened with a kill by Amelia Oppenheimer ’23 for the Judges, but the Spartans responded quickly. After an attack error by Oppenheimer made the score 4–3, the Spartans took off and scored the match’s next seven points making the score 10–3, while the Judges would only get another point because of a handling error from Spartan Gianna Lambert. Although some more scoring took place, the Spartans did not release their set lead and won 25–16. 

In the second set, the Judges began with an impressive 5–1 lead until the Spartans went on a four-point run to bring the score to 6–5. Points from a Spartan error by Brianna Lemon and kills by Bartlett and Belle Scott ’21 put the team back ahead at 6–8. After this, the teams were neck and neck, and ultimately, the Judges would take one of their set wins at 23–25.

In the third set, the Judges tried and failed to replicate their second-set win. What led to the Case Western victory came after the score was tied at eleven. At this point, the Spartans plowed ahead, scoring the set’s next six points. Although the Judges scored an occasional point, the Spartans never lost their sizable lead, resulting in a 25–16 victory. In the fourth set, the Judges had their second win, but it was consistently a very close match tied at scores of six, seven, eight, 16, 17, 18 and 19, before the Judges pulled ahead to claim a 20–25 win. In the final set, the Judges once again started with the first four points, but the Spartans responded to tie the score in the next four points. Like the fourth set, there were several moments where the score tied, but this time it was the Spartans who were ahead at the right time to claim the set, and therefore the match, at 16–14.

Chicago 3, Judges 0

The University of Chicago, another UAA opponent, was truly was a force to be reckoned with. With a record of 13-1 heading into the match, they would be a challenging team to beat and ultimately, that was a goal the Judges fell short of, unable to pull off any set wins.The Judges definitely have work to do if they would like to beat the conference’s top teams, like Chicago, who have been so successful this far in the season. 

Looking ahead, the Judges hope to return to winning ways on Saturday where they will face both Babson College and Endicott College in a Tri-Match at Babson College in Wellesley, MA.