Thursday, November 7, 2019

Halloween, Plus a Great Final Weekend of Regular Season

Plymouth State was our final HOME game of the season, and although they were 29-2 coming into the match, they were not nearly as strong of a team as any of our Conference opponents.  Maggie led the way as our only double digit kill leader with 13, followed by Corley with 8.  Then, all three of our RH's had 3 kills, lead by Beth with a .500 hitting %, while Jane hit .252.  Lucy led the team in Blocks with 4, and Gigi once again led the team in digs with 13.  That started our our final week of the season, and we headed to Williams Friday night and then on to Hamilton on Saturday for our final NESCAC weekend.

Halloween fell on Thursday, and we always have a pre-practice Halloween costume picture for fun!  This year the theme was Mario Cart, or something like that!  The team came through with a great turnout of costumes, which was very fun!  We had candy all week in my bucket outside my office door--I'm never really sure about that being a pre-practice snack, but it's only one week of the year, so we all indulge a bit! 

We entered the weekend behind Williams in the standings (they were 5-3, and we were 4-4), but since they had to play both us and Amherst, and we had them and Hamilton, we felt strongly that we could leave the weekend with a 6-4 record and take over 5th place for the tournament.  At least we felt in control of our own destiny, which is always a good spot to be in.

The Williams match proved to be quite a test of wills!  We dominated the first set after an initial period of trading points to take a 20-12 lead.  They fought back, but we took the first set 25-16.  The second set was much closer, but had small runs by both sides.  We led 16-12 and 22-17, but they fought back to 24-23 before we closed out the second set on an attack error by them.  The third set was again a very close, and a back and forth set, but unfortunately, we let a lead of 17-13 and 22-20 get away from us.  We did have 3 match points in that set at 24-23, 25-24, and 26-25, each of the three put there by kills from Laney, but they prevailed to take the final three points and stay alive with a 28-26 set win.  The fourth set was led most of the way by Williams, but we tied it 16-16 and took a short-lived lead to go up 22-19, but they put together a string of points at the end of that set to force a 5th and decisive set. 

After trading points to a 7-7 tie, Williams went on a mini run to get up 2 points, followed by trading points again.  We actually missed three serves in a row down the stretch to help put them up 11-14 with 3 match points to fend off!  We got three kills in a row, one each by Maggie, Laney and Corley to tie the game, which was CLUTCH!!  They had another kill to get another match point at 14-15, but two hitting errors on them, followed by a back row attack kill from Maggie sealed the win for us!!  What a match!  It was great composure for us to come back from 11-14, especially since we'd missed those three serves in a row, so I was really proud of the team for gritting this one out!

We all enjoyed our Thai dinner on the bus that night after the marathon 5 set match, which was nice.  We love our Thai food!  Hamilton started out the next day a little bit the same as we went to extra points to win the first set.  We traded points most of the first set, but we had to fight off 3 set points at 23-24, 25-26, and 26-27.  We missed one opportunity at set point at 25-24, but couldn't convert until two kills (Corley and Jaime) surrounding a Hamilton error sealed the set for us. After that, we cruised to the sweep with scores of 25-15, 25-12 to finish off the regular season. 

With those two NESCAC victories, we secured the 5th seed for the Tournament, and will play Amherst in the Quarterfinals next weekend!  We're all excited about that match-up as we feel that we can definitely beat Amherst despite losing in straight sets to them much earlier in the season.  We all feel like we're such a different team at this point in the season than we were back in late September, which is a great feeling. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Great Support for Parents' Weekend!


Senior Night is always a fun night.  We only had two home weekends this year, so it was an easy choice to have our "Parents' Weekend" on senior night also.  Our three seniors have given so much to our Program and we're so grateful for their leadership, competitive drive and spirit!  They will be sorely missed next year.

This was not actually their final home match since we had one more mid-week match at home vs Plymouth State, but it's so much better to celebrate senior night with all the families here that we just decided to do it on the weekend!

First up Friday night we had Bowdoin, and we had a battle with them.  The first set was very even with several tied scores, the last of which was 20-20, but they had a final push and won the first set 20-25.  The second set was more of the same, but we went up 22-18 before a late push by them beat us in extra points for a 24-26 score. We forced extra points in the third set to stay alive with a 26-24 win, again with small swings by each team.  In the 4th set we trailed early, but tied it at 12-12 and took the lead momentarily to go up 15-12, but they tied it again at 16-16 before they went on a final push to go up 20-16 and we couldn't get any closer and eventually fell in the 4th set 19-25.  Jane was ON FIRE, and hit .368 for the match and was our kills leader with 16 kills and only 2 errors on 38 swings.  Corley was also super efficient with 6 kills and no errors on 15 swings for a hitting % of .400!

Again, we felt like we competed hard and had moments of greatness, which is all good experiences to grow from and keep improving.  The next day we took on a strong Tufts team with only ONE loss on the season to date and a National ranking of #14 (the highest a NESCAC team has ever been ranked in the National poll!)


This was when we celebrated Senior Night!  All three seniors were pumped and ready to go as we battled with Tufts.  They got going in the first set and their offense was fast and good, and they jumped out to an early lead and took the first set 15-25.  The second set saw us challenge them more and force the action ourselves as we started to not only pass the ball better, but also get our middles involved and Corley caught fire and they couldn't touch her!  We forced extra points in that second set, but couldn't quite close the deal and lost 24-26.  The final set was more of the same and they got up early 3-8 and we never really challenged them again.

BOWDOIN HIGHLIGHT VIDEO

It's good experience to have, as usual, and we will take what we learned from these matches into practice next week and will become better as a result.  We had a wonderful dinner at Flatbread, as has become our tradition.  The team gave the seniors a memory pillow, which was awesome and we all had a fun night of celebrating team and family!!




Tuesday, October 29, 2019

October was full of great competition!

October is our most challenging month of competition.  We played our first Nationally ranked Conference opponent in 24th ranked Wesleyan at home over Homecoming and it was quite a test.  The very next weekend, we traveled to MIT to face three of the top NEWMAC teams, one of whom was also Nationally ranked (Babson #17).  Additionally, we played both MIT and Springfield, both of whom were Regionally ranked just ahead of us.

On our way to Boston, we stopped at a great rest area where our "Cali Girls" took this photo.  I'm told that no one from California actually says "Cali", which is why I put it in here!  :)

The first night we faced MIT, and it was a great match.  After going down 0-2, we fought back and took them to a 5th set!  In the final set we didn't quite pull it out, unfortunately, and lost 10-15.  Our team was wearing orange ribbons in honor of Bella's cousin who was diagnosed with a form of childhood Lukemia.  Very sad, but we're all pulling for him to have a full recovery!!  On hand to see our game in Cambridge was recent alum Becca Raffel '18, along with our faithful parent group, spearheaded by our senior parents of Jerry, Dean and Tracy, and the Neals!

After MIT, we stayed in our best hotel of the season, and then came back ready to WIN on Saturday.  First up was Springfield, and we actually dominated the match, which was great to see.  We swept them in three straight, and Maggie had an impressive outing hitting .464 with13 kills, no errors on 28 swings!  Lucy had 3 kills, no errors on 7 swings and 3 service aces.  As a team we hit .252 and had 8 service aces.

Following Springfield, we played Babson, who had just given Tufts their first loss of the season in a 5 set thriller.  We were very competitive with them, which was our goal.  The set scores were: 21-25-22-25, 25-27.  Although we did not prevail, we felt good about our efforts and continue to ahve the drive to improve and will keep working toward the end of the season and our Conference Championships.

MIT MATCH HIGHLIGHTS (turn on sound!)




Wednesday, October 23, 2019

First HOME NESCAC Weekend was Homecoming!!

October was a very challenging month for us, but that's the way we learn and grow!  During the month we played 3 Nationally ranked teams, and 7 Regionally ranked teams.  We started off with a Conference match with Trinity on Oct. 4, followed by a non-conference, but top 5 regionally ranked opponent, Endicott.

Trinity was an interesting team.  They didn't have a win yet in Conference, but they can hit, so they were very challenging at times.  Our serving proved to be too much for them as their receive struggled and then our offense caught fire, especially Corley!  She hit .733 for the match with 12 kills and only one error on 15 swings.  They really couldn't touch her, which was fun!  Gigi continued her hot streak defensively and lead all players with 23 digs!

The next day we traveled to Endicott, who was ranked 5th in New England and having a great season.  We also stopped for our traditional Dunks fix!  We were excited to play Endicott because, like Clarkson, they would probably end up being a top ranked team in our Region and it's just fun to see where you measure up with other top teams outside of our own Conference.  Although we did not win a set against them, all three sets were very competitive and the last two were 23-25.  It would have been really great to get at least one set, and I think if we had pulled out one of those tight sets, it could have shifted some momentum our way.  We were feeling pretty good about how we were playing and just want to keep focusing on getting better with every game and and every practice opportunity!

SKIDMORE VIDEO HIGHLIGHT LINK (have the sound on!)

Next up we had three HOME matches in a row with Skidmore and then Wesleyan and Conn College over Homecoming weekend.  Skidmore was a great lead-in match for Homecoming weekend as we had our best blocking game to date this year with 10 total blocks.  We also hit .369 as a team, which was our second best hitting game other than St. Mikes.  Everyone got in the game, (except for Laney who was sick), and it was a total team win, which was awesome!  Each person that came off the bench added positively to our outcome, which is exactly what we need to be the team we want to be!  We do most of our work in practice, and we feel like we're a deeper team this year than we've been in the past, and it was great to see that play out in a match also.

The next two matches were opposite extremes of our Conference.  We lost to Wesleyan badly on Friday night, really only competing in the final set (21-25).  It could have been the worst I've ever seen us play in the first two sets.  Only against Clarkson had we not gotten into double digits in points before, and the second set was 8-25.  Fortunately, we battled back to make the 3rd set respectable, and they still had all of their starters in, so it was a minor victory for us at that point.  The highlight of Friday night was seeing recent alums Claire and Isabel at the match!  It was a crazy busy weekend with it being Homecoming and also our first home weekend, so we had a lot of family and friends as well as alums back, so it was a great atmosphere!  Saturday, fortunately was a different story on the court.  We throttled Conn College, who really struggled with receive, bolstered by our 10 service aces!  We also hit .351 for the match, so our offense was just very efficient that Saturday!
 

CONN COLLEGE HIGHLIGHT VIDEO

Following the match, we had our Alumni Event at the Golf Course, which was very nice.  We had a couple of special alums back to help us celebrate 25 Years of MCVB!  Betsy Humphreys McNany ('95) and Julie Moriarty McDonough ('95) were both inaugural members of the Varsity Program, which had it's first year in 1994!  They had been instrumental in forming and running the club team and had advocated for the team to gain Varsity status, which finally happened for their senior year.  These guys were so impressed with our current team and enjoyed watching them, and also re-connecting with the College and our Team/Program!  (Julie actually still had her sweatshirt from that first year, which had "In the beginning..." on the front under the paw print!  Other alums back were Meg Anderson ('14), Katie Fehsenfeld ('06--a basketball alum at MIDD, who came out with her niece who is a current recruit of ours from Indiana--"Fehs" and I had a special bond at the time over being Hoosiers.)



Friday, October 4, 2019

September on the Road...

Wow, time sure flies when you're having fun...and when you're traveling for a month!  We're about to have our October Home weekends, which this year includes both Homecoming and then our Team Parents' Weekend!

However, before we get there, I need to update the first half of the season, spent traveling New England on a big, Premier Bus!  Our first weekend saw us beat two out of Region NY teams in Union and Manhattanville.  We got our money's worth, so to speak, as we went 4 sets with Manhattanville and it took us 5 to beat Union.  That was our opening weekend, and thus we were without our freshmen who were all on their Orientation trips!  After dropping the first two sets to Union, we rallied to come back and win in the 5th set 15-9.  It was great to see the team dig deep and be able to come from behind like that so early in the season.

The following week we had our closest trip of the season, to St. Michael's College just north of Burlington.  That was a pretty quick match, and we got to have takeout from my favorite restaurant--Pho Dang, which is right around the corner from St. Mikes! Although getting dinner there is a highlight for sure, the real highlight of the night was that this was our first match with our Freshmen!  Most of them got their first action of the season and performed well, which was really great to see. Lucy had 4 service aces and Laney hit .500 with 4 kills with only 1 error on 6 attempts along with a service ace.  Kelly ended with 4 assists and 2 digs, and Addie happened to be at the net for most of Lucy's service aces, so the ball barely got back to our side of the net!  Good things to come for these guys!  AND, Kelly's birthday was the next day, so we had to have cupcakes post-practice to celebrate!


That next weekend we went back to NY state to take on a perennial power Clarkson, along with other Liberty League opponents in Potsdam and St. Lawrence.  Clarkson was a tough match, and although we competed in two sets, we lost 0-3. The pace of the game was pretty fast for us at that point in the season, but it was a great experience because we know they'll be a top team in the NY Region and have been very competitive for years now.  Potsdam was not as challenging, ending in a sweep for us, and then St. Lawrence was a battle.  We competed back and forth to a 5 set loss, ending the fifth with a score of 15-12.  Good experience that we took back into practice the next week to continue to get better.

 VIDEO HIGHLIGHT LINK:  Colby-Sawyer (be sure the sound is on because there's fun music with it!)

Our lone HOME match of September was against Colby-Sawyer, which was a great first home match.  We out-powered them and easily swept them in three straight, which was a great lead-in for our first Conference matches coming up that weekend to face Colby and Bates.  Friday night we traveled all the way up to Maine where we battled with Colby but came out with the sweep.  The following day we again battled it out with Bates to a 5 set match that we pulled out after going down 1-2 in sets to win the 4th and 5th sets, with another squeaker in the 5th 15-12, but in our favor this time!  We are still learning and growing and improving, and to the 5 set matches are great experience for our relatively young team who's now 7-2!!

We had two more team birthdays the week we played Amherst--Emma on the 24th, and Maggie's birthday was actually on the Friday we played Amherst!  I'm afraid I didn't get a picture of the wonderful treats Maggie's mom brought us down at Amherst, but we did our post-practice tradition of a little dessert treat for Emma's birthday!


September ended with us heading to Amherst even though it was Fall Family Weekend at MIDD.  Because it was one game only, we went down and back in one day, which worked out well so players could get to hang out with their parents at MIDD if they wanted to.  I was pretty sick, and a handful of the kids were still battling various illnesses and remnants of symptoms, and although we competed hard, we did not prevail down in Hadley, MA that night.

It was a crazy busy month spent mostly on the road, but we'll be home for TWO weekends in October, which will feel great.


Thursday, September 5, 2019

MCVB 2019 Pre Season

Our 2019 season opening dinner this year was at The Knoll, the organic garden at Middlebury!  My house is undergoing a kitchen renovation so we couldn't really host the party there, but the Knoll was such a fun venue that we may have to continue this tradition.  It was a gorgeous night, which helps, of course!

We also have class photos, so here goes:  The Seniors (also the Captains) with Beth Neal, Gigi Alper and Chellsa Ferdinand!










 Now we have the groups by class:  First we have our Seniors and Captains:  Beth, Gigi and Chellsa!












Then we have our Juniors, who did both a regular and a "pinch face" photo!
























The Sophomores wanted to do a regular one and a pyramid, with Maggie and Ali on top, and Corley, Jane and Bella on the base!






















Last, but not least is our Freshman Class!   We have Addie from FL, Laney from SoCal, Kelly from Nor Cal, and Manya and Lucy from NY.








On an afternoon off, the team went to "cold bath soak" in the Bristol River, and followed that up with a VT Creemee!!  Nothing better to break up pre season doubles than a trip to Bristol Falls and a creemee!














Welcome back to ALL, and great job with pre-season!!  We're excited to play for the first time this weekend, but unfortunately, we will be without our freshmen as they take part in their Orientation Trips!  The rest of us leave for Union on Saturday to play both Manhattanville and Union to open the season!!







Monday, May 13, 2019

MCVB Alums Unite; Plea for Alum Connections to Current Athletes

We have a couple of fun MCVB Alum updates, and one interesting thing about these two particular situations is that the people involved didn't actually play together, or at least most of them didn't!  We had 3 former players (that we know of) that ran the Boston Marathon in April!!  What a great accomplishment and fun race.  Lauren ('11) is on the left, with Kathryn ('16) in the middle and Caitlin ('13) on the right.  Caitlin and Lauren are sisters, and Kathryn played with Caitlin, but not Lauren.  For additional background, Kathryn is from southern CA but is now living in Boston, while Caitlin is from Boston but is currently living in northern CA for grad school.  Lauren grew up in Boston and still lives there, and has run a few of these Boston Marathons!  These three joined up for a pre-race picture, which they were kind enough to share with me, and then we have the post or in-race pics also!

Then, in early May, Caroline Cordle ('12) met Gabi Rosenfeld ('17) at a MIDD Alumni Event in Washington, D.C.  Gabi introduced herself to Caroline and they started talking and voila--they both played Volleyball at MIDD, but weren't at MIDD at the same time!  What a fun connection!

Special Alumnae Note:  I'm looking for ways to connect MCVB alums with current players who may be studying or interested in a field where some of you are currently working, so I'd love to hear ideas of how I can better connect everyone?!  Alums, would you like to see a newsletter that came out monthly to update you on what we're doing, and who's studying what?  I hope you're enjoying the Blog, but for something like this, maybe a direct email would be better?!  Maybe a junior/senior profile with their areas of studies/interests?  Would you mind if I gave current players your contact information (email most likely) so they can contact you with possible questions about the profession or what your path was like?! Let me know your thoughts and ideas!!  I really am excited about this and feel like several mens' teams have been doing this forever, and I'm so proud of our amazing alumnae group and would be excited to make some connections between people!