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Volleyball comes back strong in tournament action at Brandeis

Eliza Pyne '13 tallied a team-high seven kills in the season-opening match against Haverford. (File photo)

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Bates volleyball team opened its 2011 season Friday evening with 3-0 losses to a pair of tough teams, Haverford and Brandeis, on the first day of the Brandeis Invitational, showing significant improvement as the action progressed through the day.

Haverford (1-4) won by set scores of 25-14, 25-12 and 25-8. For Bates, junior middle blocker Eliza Pyne (Atherton, Calif.) led the team with seven kills, while first-year setter Tess Walther (Santa Monica, Calif.) tallied 15 assists in her collegiate debut. Fellow rookie Emma Getsinger (Darien, Conn.) made four kills, 11 digs and a solo block, while junior Nicole Russell (Boca Raton, Fla.) shared the team lead with 11 digs. Madison Fuelling, Jenine Abbassi and Caitlin Trinquillo had eight kills apiece for Haverford, while Haley Lowrance notched 26 assists and six aces.

Brandeis (4-2) won Bates' second match of the day by scores of 25-22, 25-14, 25-21, as the Bobcats bounced back with a stronger performance than in the Haverford match.

After Brandeis scored the first three points of the match, the Bobcats responded with five in a row on the serve of Russell. The Judges trailed, 6-4, when junior Lauren Berens got hot, scoring three of the set's next four points to give Brandeis an 8-6 edge. Brandeis eventually pushed the lead to 12-9 after Berens put another one away and Bates committed an error. Rookie middle blocker Hannah McGrath (Longmeadow, Mass.) snapped the momentum, and the visitors were able to string together four points on the serve of Walther.

The Bobcats held the lead at 17-15 thanks to a pair of nice blocks by Pyne and senior middle blocker Olivia Schow (Costa Mesa, Calif.), but Brandeis finally closed it out at 25-22 on a kill by senior Becca Fischer.

In the second and third sets, the Judges got off to quick starts, taking a 6-1 lead in the second and a 6-0 edge in the third. The Judges led by as many as seven points in the third. The Bobcats climbed to within three points late in the set at 24-21, but it was too little too late.

Hood led the Judges for the second match in a row with 11 kills, her third match of the season with double figures.

Bates was paced by senior right side Chrissy Gee (San Francisco, Calif.), who had eight kills, including five in the third set as the Bobcats tried to come back. Russell had 21 digs, a match-high, while Pyne had two service aces.

Bates faces Emmanuel and Eastern Connecticut State on Saturday, at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

STATS: Haverford 3, Bates 0

STATS: Brandeis 3, Bates 0