UR Women’s Volleyball (11–7, 1–2 UAA) defeated Brandeis University (7–6, 0–3 UAA) 3–1 on Sunday in Cleveland, avenging their two losses to Emory University (14–2, 2–1 UAA) and the University of Chicago (15–3, 3–0 UAA) on Saturday. The matches, hosted by Case Western Reserve University, made up the first round of UAA play for the 2017 season. Half of the Yellowjackets’ UAA competitors are nationally ranked, including no. 3 Emory and no. 25 University of Chicago. Carnegie Mellon and Washington Universities are also ranked — sitting at the 10th and 18th spots, respectively.

UR fell to Emory 3–0 in their first match of the day, 25–12, 25–19, and 25–11. Junior outside hitter Alara Kocak had a team-high nine kills. She currently leads the team in this category by a substantial margin, with a total of 204 kills this season. Junior middle blocker and right-side hitter Clara Martinez trails her, with 119, five of them coming against Emory. Freshman outside and right-side hitter Allie DeRubertis also had five kills. Sophomore right-side hitter and setter Beth Ghyzel had three kills and seven assists for the Yellowjackets with 11 assists coming from freshman setter Renae Lapins.

Another set of strong showings from Kocak and Martinez with ten and five kills, respectively, were highlights for UR against the University of Chicago. The Maroons took game 3–0, but UR showed improvement with scores of 25–21, 25–12, and 25–20. Ghyzel (four kills, 12 assists, 11 digs), Lapins (12 assists, seven digs) and DeRubertis (three kills, four blocks) all had solid performances on Saturday evening, along with junior right side hitter Kayla Sell who had four kills and junior libero and defensive specialist Courtney Vidovich, who had 18 digs.

“The Saturday matches were challenging against Emory and Chicago but we just had to take away the positive, learn from the negatives, and reset for Sunday’s game against Brandeis,” Vidovich said.

UR collected its first UAA win against Brandeis on Sunday, defeating the Judges 25–18 in the first set, 26–24 in the third and 25–17 in the fourth, losing the second set 25–21. A team high 13 kills came from Ghyzel, who also had 11 assists and 12 digs. Vidovich lead the Yellowjackets with 16 digs, with sophomore and freshman defensive specialists Sara Apanavicius and Lydia Barnard contributing a total of 21. Kocak had 11 kills and one block, Martinez had eight kills and three blocks and DeRubertis had four kills.

“A large part of Sunday’s win came from determination and pride to take the win,” Vidovich said. “We watched film the previous night so we knew what we had to do and it was just up to the team to execute the game plan.”

On Sunday, the University of Chicago beat Emory 3–1 in a surprising upset between one of the country’s toughest match-ups. The Maroons are currently undefeated in conference play going into the second round next weekend, which they will host. In Chicago, UR will play NYU and Carnegie Mellon University on Oct. 14, with matches against Washington University and Case Western the following day.

“As a young team with only one senior that is injured for the whole season, we have a lot of growing to do,” Vidovich said. “I’m excited to see the leadership and talent that will come as we continue into the second half of our season.”

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