Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Alice Visits Ecuador en route to Semester in Santiago

Study abroad is such a great experience, and one that many MIDD students take advantage of during their junior year. Currently, Alice is reppin' MCVB in Ecuador en route to Santiago for the semester!

She was able to visit family living in Ecuador before her semester started and sent us some great pictures of some of her adventures there.
She went on a biking trip with her uncle and these gorgeous scenes were along the ride.  They went to Quilotoa and saw this gorgeous lake pictured behind Alice; they went to the refuges at the top of Cotopaxi and saw graves atop Chimborazo, which is a little different; and they also biked through BaƱos del Ambato.  

If I had to guess, I'd say that probably 80% of MCVB players do some kind of study abroad, either for a semester or shorter trips just during J-term.  In the past 20 years we've had one player (shout out to Luz '04!) go abroad for the year, and one student-assistant coach (shout out to Blair '01!) go abroad for the year, but most often it works to go for a semester or a month. There are so many different programs that the opportunities seem almost endless.  They can span one month or several months, and can be language intense, or in English-speaking parts of the world.  Wonderful experiences, all!

Stay tuned for more updates from Alice, Becca and Eliana as all three are studying abroad this semester!  Thanks for sharing, Alice! 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Winter 2017 4v4 Tournament

 It was great to see Pepin Gym filled with volleyball in January!  Several teams gathered for our 3rd or 4th annual 4v4 Tournament and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun Sunday.  The main picture here goes to this year's winners:  Hannah's team!

Sarah organized the tournament and reviewed the rules with everyone before the start:  no tipping in front of the attack line, men hit from back row only, but can block, only one MCVB present or former on each team, and I think that's most of the rules.  Any team members who weren't playing that round were reffing and helping keep score.  The mic got passed around to help commentate or direct teams to the proper court, and Rose and Gabi were excellent commentators, so they are featured here enjoying the mic!

I didn't get a picture of every team, but here are some pictures from the day--the main thing was definitely achieved:  FUN!!  Congrats to Team Hannah for taking home the winners tee shirts!!

Emily and her team talk strategy before their game...

Becca and team pose after winning their first game...

Chellsa's team poses for a picture while waiting for their 4th to arrive...

 Isabel and her team talk strategy, but then pose after losing their first game thinking that maybe coming in second would still be good?!

 Alice poses with her team to the left, and is shown below playing Beth's team of tracksters:  jumpers, I believe?  As you can see, one of her teammates is getting up--he took off behind the attack line to hit...

Finally, we have Team Pink Panther, which may have been the only team NOT to feature an MCVB team member?  We welcome them to the tournament and they definitely win the best team spirit award with the pink theme for all teammates, and hope to see them out here again next time, too!  

Thank you to everyone who came out to support the tournament, and we may even run one this Spring so some of the winter sport athletes can join in the fun?! Stay tuned for that... 

Happy last week of J-term!!

Monday, January 16, 2017

MCVB Teammates Unite Over Holiday Break!

We had some MCVB teammates get together over the Holiday Break before coming back to MIDD and they shared some photos with us.  Becca and Rose traveled from NorCal south to see our two SoCal girls, Gabi and Sarah. I love the shout out's to MCVB!!

Hollywood and barefoot at the beach are both great locales for a reunion of any kind!

It looked cold with grey skies, hats and jackets, but with no shoes on, it's a little hard to tell how cold it really was.  Plus, when you're used to VT winters, how cold could it be in southern California?!  :)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Season Ends in NCAA Regional

What a match!  We were the only match the whole weekend that went to 5 sets, and I'm sure it was an exciting match to watch.  We were sent to the NY Regional at SUNY Brockport and were matched up in the first round against Ithaca College.  Personally, it was a good match up as the coach and I are friends and have been for years now but we don't play them in the regular season, so it was nice to see him again.  After watching film, I thought we matched up well with them player for player, and we were all excited about the opportunity to play in the NCAA's--first time for this group since we hadn't been since 2012.

Because of the distance, we practiced at home on Thursday night and then loaded the bus with Flatbread pizza's and headed for Brockport, NY.  We arrived shortly before midnight and slept soundly before heading over the the gym for our morning practice time.  The gym was very nice, but had a somewhat low ceiling so it was nice to get the feel for the gym, but that's a luxury that we normally don't have.  The match before us went in three straight, so we were right on schedule for warmups before the game, which is nice.

Ithaca proved to be a very good team, and like we thought, we matched up very well.  The first two sets were decided by only two points, both extending beyond the 25 limit, but unfortunately we came out on the short end both times.  The match seemed to be going in small runs back and forth by both teams.  It was very tightly contested, yet both teams would get leads and them come back.  We had an early lead in the first set, only to see it dwindle to a 20-20 tie, and eventually a 25-25 tie before they scored the final two points to take the first set.  The second set was the reverse with Ithaca holding early leads, and even a 16-11 lead before we fought back to tie it up 21-21 and 24-24 before they again scored the final two points for a 2-0 set lead in the match.

At that point, we switched to our 6-2 offense to try to contain their OH's a bit more with a bigger block, and that seemed to work well.  That third set started off with us trading points until we opened up a lead 20-12, but Ithaca fought back to within 3 at 23-20, but we secured the 3rd set with a 25-21 victory.  The forth set was more of the same tight, back and forth play until we again pulled away late behind some strong serving from Chellsa and pulled the match even at 2-2, forcing a deciding 5th set!

The 5th set was again more of the same, but we seemed to have the upper hand a bit, taking a 7-4 early lead, and even getting three match points, up 14-11.  I've watched this ending several times now, and we had good opportunities, but each time Ithaca came through with the counter.  We initially had a very good tip opportunity by Alice that had been working all night, and their blockers just caught it, sending it back to our side instead of it trickling down behind them.  Melanie had a great hit that they barely got up and were scrambling to keep in play, giving us a free ball, which we executed well, but they blocked us on that attempt also, and their final point came when we gave them an easier ball that they sent to their OH who put away the match winner.  Both OH's for them had 20 kills, and we were expecting one of them to be tough to contain, but not both.

Our offense was fairly balanced as it had been all season with 18 and 13 kills by Becca and Isabel, followed closely with 9 and 8 kills by Sarah and Alice.  Eliana came in for the last 3 sets and tallied 5 kills and 3 blocks, while Melanie finished her career with 7 blocks and 3 kills.  Sarah and Alice both added 3 and 4 blocks respectively, and  Chellsa led the team with 5 service aces.  Gigi led our defensive effort in the back with 17 digs followed by Emily with 11, but their libero came up with a match high 35 digs as they tallied 85 digs to our 61.  We actually ended the match with a higher hitting % (.207), more aces, and more blocks, but we just didn't come up with the points when we needed them.

I am so proud of this team!  We have been on the other (winning) end of so many matches like this during the season, and we just kept fighting each and every time.  We kept our composure, and made some big plays, and this time, it just didn't go our way.  I give credit to Ithaca as they came up with the plays they needed to win, but it was a great match all the way around.

We'll wrap up our season soon with our banquet and final meetings, and then most of our juniors will go abroad, we'll see our seniors finish up their college days, and then we'll welcome the new freshmen and do it all again next year!  I love my job!!  :)  Happy Holidays to everyone!!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

MIDD Wins NESCAC Championship!!

NESCAC Championship weekend--what FUN!  We had to start out by beating Bates in the Quarterfinals after having lost to them just a week before.  It was a very tough match, as we expected, but our defense was much improved from the first time we played them as we out-blocked them, had almost as many digs, and hit .241.  Becca had a career high kill night with 22, and Hannah had career high digs with 27.  Alice had a match high 6 blocks while Mel had 5 and Sarah had 3 to double their team blocks 12-6.

Because we'd played the early match as the #2 seed, we were able to both watch a bit of the 3vs6 match, and go out to dinner at a restaurant, which was a nice treat.  Our Conference weekend matches are set at 8pm on Friday nights, so we never go to a restaurant afterward because it's so late, which was very nice!

After dinner, we headed back to our hotel for a good night's sleep.  A little before midnight, however, the fire alarm went off and we all had to evacuate the hotel for about 20 minutes or so until they could give us the all-clear to go back inside.  Some were already in bed, or at least ready for bed and thus decked out in jammies and no socks/shoes outside!  Nothing holds back a Panther, though, and the next morning we were up and ready to face Amherst!

We were on a roll for the Amherst match, sweeping them 3-0, and were really clicking with our offense as we hit .281 and held very slight advantages in digs, aces, and blocks.  The first and third sets were tightly contested while the 2nd set we ran away with a little more.  We found ourselves down late in both of those tight sets, and had to come from behind for the wins.  We trailed 17-19 in the first, going on a late surge to win 25-22.  Up 2-0 in sets, we got behind in the 3rd set early 8-14, but pulled even at 20-20, and then traded points a bit before scoring the final two points for the 3-0 win 25-23.

We were headed back to the finals for the first time for anyone in this group, and thus earned another dinner out, which was great!  We could get used to this!  We stayed at a different hotel Saturday night and found an Outback Steak House to eat at near our hotel.  Another good night's sleep, and we headed back to Tufts for the Championship match on Rose's birthday!!

Our Field Hockey team was also at Tufts for the weekend playing in their NESCAC Championship also.  It was fun to see them and wish them well in their final also.  It's always nice to have one of our MIDD teams at the same location as us, so GO MIDD!!

The final vs Tufts was a great match.  When we lost to them in 5 sets earlier in the season, we knew then that we'd love to have a re-match on a Sunday (which would mean that it would be the NESCAC Finals), and that's exactly what we got!  Tufts was currently ranked #1 in New England, but that didn't stop us from believing we could win!  After all, we'd already beaten a #1 Team in the region when we beat UMass Boston in early October.  We started out in our 5-1 offense as we had for the last couple of matches because it had been working very well.  Not so much on this day, however, as we lost the opening set 25-14!  We quickly transitioned to our 6-2 and took the next two sets, both by scores of 25-19 to take a 2-1 lead in sets.  The 4th set was another tight set but Tufts edged ahead late to go up 19-24.  Faced with 5 set points, we sided out, and sent Emily to the service line, still down 4 set points.  We fought back and there were many long rallies as we tied it up 24-24 on Emily's serve, only to go down a set point again, and then lost the last point on a joust at the net.

videoSo, we were on to the 5th set.  The Championship match has gone to a 5th set the last couple of years, and that just shows the parity in our Conference.  Tufts jumped out to early leads of 5-2 and 10-6 in the 5th set, but we just remained calm and kept fighting to chip away at the leads, as we had all weekend, and all season, really.  Down 6-10, we surged ahead with a combination of big plays by us and some attack errors by them to take a 13-11 lead.  They had one more attack error and then a double block by Eliana and Melanie sealed the Championship for MCVB!!  Here's a quick video of match point taken by one of our faithful MCVB family members!

By the time the 4th set rolled around, the Field Hockey game had ended and the gym started to really fill up, making for a loud, great atmosphere for the 5th set!  Our field hockey coach later told me that she didn't realize that we only played to 15 in the 5th set and was very happily surprised when it just ended 15-11 and we all rushed the floor!

Our super fans, Kathryn '16 and Meg '14 were there to cheer us on all weekend, as were other former players/parents Katie Kenney Enslin '03 and family, and Tim and Lisa Barrett P'11, P'13.  It was a thrilling finish to a great weekend, and the team, although ecstatic about the win was quite honestly exhausted afterward, as you can see from the post match picture waiting to load the bus home.

It was fun to get messages from alums and even a couple alum parents leading up to NESCAC's and again after winning our Program's 5th Championship!!  Thank you ALL for the wonderful support!!  GO MCVB--headed back to the NCAA's!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Alum Meg Anderson Spends Yet Another Birthday with MCVB

I can't believe I forgot to include this in our recent blog entry.  The birthday weekend in question as a whole was a bit of a bust; however, a highlight for sure was Meg sharing her birthday (and, let's be honest, her birthday CUPCAKES) with us when we were at MIT a couple weekends ago!  Happy Belated Birthday to Meg on Oct. 22.  For four years while Meg was playing at MIDD we were at the Hall of Fame Tournament.  Then, she spent two more years with us as a coach, and I think two years ago we were still at the HOF, and last year and this year we were at MIT.

Looking forward to seeing her again this weekend at Tufts when we start our quest for another NESCAC Championship Friday night at 5pm vs Bates!!  GO MCVB!!

(For any alums reading this, even with the #2 seed, we still play on that little upstairs court at Tufts with the half walls separating the court from the hallway!!)

MIDD Splits in Maine--Headed to NESCAC's as #2 Seed

Our final weekend of the regular season took us to Maine to play both Colby and Bates.  Colby has been struggling this season, and posed no real threat as we cruised to a 3 set sweep on Friday night by the set scores of 25-15, 25-21, 25-15.  We did meet up with our first "real" bout of snow as we crossed over the Killington gap on our way over, which is where we met our first flurries of snow the previous weekend on our way back from MIT, so winter is on it's way after a gorgeous Fall.

The next morning we headed to Bates to play our regular season finale, after our stop at Dunk, of course.  The fun thing in Waterville was that there was a Tim Hortons just a couple of stores down from the Dunkin Donuts, which made Claire VERY happy!!

Onward to Bates, where we met more than our match that day.  They were super pumped up for senior day, and they even gave our seniors flowers, which was a very nice touch and much appreciated.  Bates came out on fire, and dominated the first set scoring 5 points in a row on two separate occasions for leads of 11-5, and 20-10 to eventually take the first set 25-11.  The second set was more back and forth, but they were still scoring points in bunches whereas we were just getting one at a time, for another lopsided set score of 25-15.  We seemed to find a groove in the 3rd set, jumping out to a 9-3 lead, and expanding it to a 20-10 lead before a late surge brought them to 24-16, when we closed out the set on a kill by Sarah.  The final set was unfortunately marked by point runs by Bates again as they jumped out to a 13-3 lead that proved to be too much to come back from.

Overall, we made too many errors as we hit only .103 for the game, and had only 39 kills to go with our 23 hitting errors.  Bates defense was all over the place, and they got every ball up it seemed, along with their OH's coming up with 16, and 17 kills respectively while ours hit .050 combined, and we were out-blocked...Isabel was our only player in double digit kills, but unfortunately had double digit errors also, and Alice and Sarah were the only ones to hit over .100, along with Mel, so it was a tough day for MCVB all together.

The good news for us is that we'll get an immediate shot at redemption on Friday night when we play them in the NESCAC Quarterfinals at Tufts!  We're excited about the opportunity to redeem ourselves, and are looking forward to putting it all together this weekend for a fun (and hopefully long) weekend of volleyball!!

On another note, Halloween started out our week, which was a fun way to get the week started.  Here's a picture of only some of our MCVBees...and a hot dog?!  :)