Monday, September 22, 2014

MIDD Wins Opening NESCAC Match of the Season


Bates came to town on Saturday afternoon, after having played at Hamilton on Friday night.  They lost a tough one to Hamilton in very close sets, but wouldn't be quite as close to us on Saturday afternoon.  We played possibly our best match of this young season so far, and were certainly our most consistent.  We hit right at .200 as a team for the match, and had a season-high 16 Block Assists!  We also did not have any major runs against us, which was good, and we did manage a few of our own runs, which is always nice.  Hannah had a career high 7 service aces, while Lizzy had 3 of her own, followed by Emily with 2 aces.

The Kolodka sisters paced our offense as the only two with double digit kills at 10 apiece.  Alice chipped in with 7, while Piper had 4.  Mel had 7 block assists and Olivia had 5 in our blocking spree of 16 BA!!  Jen and Katie were our serving specialists, and Gabi made the most of a quick trip through the front row scoring one kill, and no errors on one swing in the second set.

We started off the first set strongly, jumping out to a lead early on, but Bates fought back to within a pair, until we pulled away with a flourish, taking a 19-11 lead that wouldn't get any closer as we won 25-15 in the first set.

The second set was much of the same as we again got off to a good start, and again they fought back to a 10-6 score before we ran a string of 10 straight points to go up 20-6.  They wouldn't go down easily, though, as they fought back scoring points 2-1 against us before we finally won 25-16.

The third set was a continuation of the first two, as we held the lead the whole time, but couldn't quite pull away as decisively as we had in the first two sets, but easily came away with our first NESCAC win in straight sets to go 1-0 in Conference.  Our next Conference match is Friday night against Hamilton, here at home again!

We had many fans, and lots of family, which was great.  We even had the Panther in the house!!  A trio of the Mischords got us started off with an excellent rendition of the National Anthem, and then after the match we had wild cupcakes from Jen's parents for her 18th Birthday.  I think there may have been a barbie (or a polly pocket?) in that giant blue ball of icing, but I'll have to check on that with Jen at practice.  I'm sure there's a good story behind that...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Birthday Time!!

We had two birthdays this week, at both ends of the spectrum.  Piper turned 22 on Wednesday, while Jen turns 18 on Friday.  Fun times.  Happy birthday, guys!!  We celebrated with a cake after practice, with Kate there to help us celebrate. 

MIDD Loses Close One in Home Opener

Union was a very tough opponent on Tuesday night in our opening home match of the 2014 season.  A year ago we had a very similar match, however, it's just that we ended with a win then, so it felt different.  The match was a roller coaster in many ways.  We dug ourselves huge holes, then fought back to tie the score in at least two of the sets, but just couldn't quite pull out the game winning points.  The game we won, we won by a convincing 7 points, and each game we lost, we lost by two points.  Very frustrating, but we also showed a lot of grit to fight back after 8+ point deficits, so that was a positive for the night. 

Alice and Olivia set the tone with 16, and 15 kills apiece, and Alice and Mel led the way with hitter percentages of .302, and .368 respectively.  We had great offensive balance with Piper having 9 kills, and Mel and Emily both adding 8.  Hannah did a great job spreading out the offense and was second in digs behind libero Lizzy for a balanced game.  Eliana saw her first action of the season and scored her first of many huge blocks to come!

We are actually starting to put some things together, so we're looking forward to steady progression throughout the season.  That's the goal.  Our Southern Vermont match was cancelled last night due to lack of healthy bodies for the opponent, so now we're looking forward to our first NESCAC match against Bates tomorrow night here at home!  GO MIDD!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Season Opens with Tournament in Boston

We were ready to put on the uniforms and get down to business, and that's exactly what we did this past weekend at the UMass Boston Tournament.  We played four matches in two days, which is the most we'll play in one weekend all season.  Our trip started off with small group discussions on the bus orchestrated by the captains, which is a new tradition starting this year to help us both be connected, and keep connected to each other.  We still watched a movie, and people slept, and listened to their personal music, but we had our "together time" to connect, share, and listen to each other, which I think will be a special new tradition with fun topics to be revealed by the captains at the start of each road trip.

Our first match was against Whitman College, from Walla Walla, Washington.  We knew nothing other than what their stats told us, but for our first match of the season, we were much more concerned with ourselves than our opponent anyway.  I guess one way to describe it was a typical first match?!  We played them very tough, with all sets other than the first being decided by 4 or fewer points, both ways.  We got off to a shaky start losing the first set 25-15, but bounced right back to compete for the second set 21-25, and won the third by the same score.  Despite the fact that we lost the fourth set, and thus the match, we were actually doing a lot of good things, I thought.  Our top three hitters (our veterans, Olivia, Piper and Melanie) combined for a hitting % of .180, and Hannah averaged almost 10 Assists per game, and Lizzy  had 21 digs, which was one dig shy of the match high set by Whitman's libero.  We made too many errors, yes, but we did a lot of positive things as well, so we're building off of those successes.

The second match that night saw us beat a previously undefeated Western Connecticut team, so we all felt good about that.  This was a great match for us in some ways, as it saw us really fight, and pull together to scrap out a win in extra points in set 2, 29-27.  For this early in the season, and with the new faces on the court, I thought this was a wonderful victory and really helped set the tone for what we want to accomplish this year with our heart and hustle.

We had so many fans comprised of current parents (Katie, Piper, Olivia and Emily, Eliana, Alice, Lizzy, and Jen), Hannah's grandparents, recent alums and their families--namely the Barretts and the Andersons, and even not so recent alum families-- Kenney's, so thank you all for your wonderful support!!  And despite my better judgement, when the famous carmelitas were brought out between games because the team was starving (and also because they're just THAT good!), I wasn't sure it was a good idea, but I let it go.  Since we won, now I have to say, I guess it was indeed OK, and maybe a part of our togetherness and good vibes was brought on by those delicious, carmelitas made with love and Panther Pride?!  (To the team, don't count on me letting you eat those again before a match!)

The next morning, we had earned our trip to DD, so off we went for our traditional excursion on Saturday mornings.  We've collectively decided that we need to "earn" this privilege, which I thought we did based on the process of striving for our goals, namely--All Out, All Game, All Season!!  I might add that I started off with decaf, just to make sure I didn't have extra jitters as I've mistakenly done before...

Our morning then got going against the host school, UMass Boston.  Although we hung right in there for the first game, falling 22-25, we were a bit outmatched the rest of the match.  The good news for us was that what we did well at times, we did pretty well, and what we needed to work on was pretty defined, so next time we'll be ready!  After that first game, last season's NCAA Regional Champs handed us our first straight set loss 18-25, and 14-25.

There was no rest for the weary, as we simply moved courts, stuffed some quick bites into our mouths, and started warming up again for our final match of the weekend.  This time we played Salisbury, who, like Whitman, was another out of region opponent.  We felt good going in as we thought their style of play was very similar to ours.  I felt from watching them briefly that we would be well matched against them.  Other than the fact that we gave up too many runs without our own run to counter, we actually played them fairly tough, despite the set scores.  I realize that I'm spinning this in a positive light, but I also really believe that we did a lot of good things, so we're feeling good about what we have to build on in practice moving forward. 

For the ride home, we had various snacks from parents, and adorable Goody Bags from the Kolodkas!!  So nice!  We also had the famous apples and special dip from the Anderson's!  So, with treats in hand, we got on board, headed to the nearest Chipotle Restaurant that Rueann (our fearless bus driver) had found for us, and headed home.  We'll get another chance to put it all together tomorrow night when we have our Home Opener against Union College.  Stay tuned.  And, Meg has started a Facebook page for us, so if you want to follow us on Facebook, I think this may be the link?  MCVB on Facebook

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Olympic Dreams...

Ok, so we watch the movie Miracle every year.  Who doesn't LOVE that movie?!  Lizzy has the inside scoop on the Olympic Training Center at Lake Placid now after training there last J-Term on the Olympic Skeleton Development Team.  Very cool.  She and Kathryn organized a trip over to Lake Placid during preseason on one of our afternoons off so we could tour the rink, check out the Olympic vibe, and just walk around town.  It's pretty close, really, as it takes just about 1.5 hours to get there.

Unfortunately, the freshmen couldn't go with us because of Orientation obligations, but the rest of us all enjoyed our time together, and it's hard not to think about your dreams when you're at the sight of "The Miracle on Ice!"  Another fun fact that I didn't even know was that the 1932 Olympics were also held in Lake Placid, so we have a picture of that Ice Rink also.  Huge difference,as you'd imagine between the 1932 rink, and the 1980 one.  (The 1932 rink looks almost exactly like the old rink at MIDD!)



We even got a tour of the actual locker room TEAM USA was in during the games where the famous speech took place.  (It was much, much nicer in the movie.  We had to remind ourselves that it was 1980 we were talking about, so not many frills there!)







We also did the Olympic Simulator ride, which was where you seemingly are doing five Olympic events, complete with wind in your face, and a bouncing chair to simulate events like the luge, skeleton, bobsledding, and ski jumping (which was actually my favorite!)







 Then, Lizzy took us over to the Training Center where she trains, and even showed us the "push track" for dry training for the Skeleton.  Don't ask what Kathryn has on her head!  We were not allowed to get on the skeleton sled, but Kathryn was trying to really get in the moment, I guess.  :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Presentation of Jerseys!


During preseason we had double sessions most days, so we didn't have all that much time for other fun.  Once Freshmen Orientation started, we had to plan practice around when they could make it, which definitely made it more challenging, and even caused us to have a couple of EARLY mornings.  They're the ones who got the worst of it, though, as they were running from practice every day to the next activity on their schedules, while the upperclassmen could go back and take a nap between practices if they wanted.   

Once we had enough time to make our final decisions on the Team, however, the captains organized a Jersey Presentation for our new players.  They talked to the freshmen about what it means to be a member of MCVB, and the pride that goes along with wearing MIDDLEBURY on your jersey (or something like that.)  Then they read words of wisdom from the previous three seniors who wrote their thoughts and words of advice to the new freshmen, and sent them to the captains this year to read during the Jersey Presentation, which was very cool.  Then, each new player was presented with her jersey by an upperclassmen. 

Here are the pics that tell the story.  First we had senior Olivia present her younger sister with her jersey, which I have to say was really pretty special.  Then we had Mel present Eliana with hers, followed by Katie presenting Jen's, then Hannah presented Becca's, and finally Charlotte presented Alice with hers.  Fun times...









Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Preseason is Underway!

 We are four days into practice, and things look good so far.  Besides the fact that we've been short a couple of people, and up to four people at times already, I'm very excited about what the 2014 MCVB team looks like so far!  Mainly, it's just a fun group of young women.  Here are some pictures of our opening BBQ.
 My girls always enjoy the BBQ.  They get to see all these young women, and usually Brian's daughters come, but Max isn't usually quite so excited.  This year, however, he was pleasantly surprised when they all showed up, and Eliana had a younger brother with her family.  I believe Max was running around with his nerf gun, and Joey very agreeably went along (maybe getting away from all the girls was good for him, too!?)  They disappeared into the field playing baseball, basketball, nerf guns, and I don't know what else.  Thanks Joey!

The next day we went for a hike to Silver Lake.  Fortunately, it wasn't as muggy and hot and humid as it is now, although, I think we would trade a hike to a lake now for a sweaty, sticky gym, but getting to play is worth it!  Melanie was the only one who actually went swimming, but it was a gorgeous day for our hike.  The pictures are most of the team, but we were missing a couple of people, unfortunately.  Alaa couldn't make it from the sophomore class, and Piper wasn't back yet from our Senior class. 

There is the group pic first, then by class, with our biggest group being our rookies.