Jeffs Open Weekend with 3-2 Win Over Brandeis

Junior Erin Camp had 13 digs and three service aces in Amherst's win over Brandeis.

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College volleyball team kicked off its weekend with a thrilling 3-2 win (25-14, 17-25, 25-15, 19-25, 15-7) over Brandeis University in day one of the Amherst Classic. The Lord Jeffs improve to 7-1 on the season, while the Judges dropped their second straight match to fall to 8-5.

In Friday night’s other match, Middlebury College handed Westfield State College a 3-0 defeat (25-18, 25-19, 25-23). Saturday’s 11 a.m. matches will pit Amherst against Middlebury and Brandeis against Westfield State. Amherst will then face Westfield State Saturday at 2 p.m. while Middlebury takes on Brandeis.

The Jeffs increased their overall winning streak to five matches and bumped their winning streak in Amherst Classic competition to 14. The Judges are now 0-4 against NESCAC teams this season.

Junior Erin Camp (Santa Monica, CA) gave Amherst some early breathing room with back-to-back service aces and the Lord Jeffs never looked back, leading wire-to-wire in the first set. The hosts got exceptional defense from senior Bethany Belisle (Austin, TX) and closed out the opening set on an 8-1 run, with sophomore Cristy Meier (San Anselmo, CA) providing the winning kill.

Brandeis jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set on a kill from junior Paige Blasco (Greeley, CO), but Amherst’s Jackie Berkley (Fullerton, CA) put the Jeffs on the board with a powerful kill of her own from the right side. The Judges answered with a 6-0 run and never let the Jeffs creep to within fewer than six points, as senior co-captain Piera Carfagno (Los Angeles, CA) closed out the second set with a service ace.

The third set featured four ties and three lead changes in the early going, but Amherst went on an 11-point rampage to take a commanding 20-9 lead en route to its 25-15 win. Brandeis came right back in the fourth set by winning the first four points and never looking back despite a late push from the Jeffs. Amherst had gathered significant momentum late in the frame and trailed by only four, but a key block from the Judges’ Nicole Smith (Marietta, GA) handed the serve back to Brandeis and set up the 25-19 victory.

Amherst dominated the deciding set and was provided with a huge spark on a towering kill from junior Laura Hyman (Glencoe, IL), as the Jeffs sealed the match with a 15-7 fifth-set win.

Sophomore Katherine Kanoff (Pacific Palisades, CA) led Amherst with 17 kills and 10 digs, while Meier added 14 kills. Junior Katherine Jordan (Los Altos Hills, CA) had 42 assists, Belisle and Camp finished with 15 digs and 13 digs, respectively, and Berkley and Hyman each had four blocks. Hyman also added six kills on the night.

The Judges were led by 23 kills from Blasco, with Carfagno chipping in with nine kills. Junior Abby Blasco (Greeley, CO) had 40 assists and first-year Anna Homitsky (Pittsburgh, PA) totaled 14 digs. Brandeis struggled from the service line all night, committing 14 service errors in the loss.