Sunday, April 10, 2016

Lizzy & Kathryn Run Half Marathon

The Switchback Burlington Half Marathon featured our very own Lizzy and Kathryn!  By all accounts, they rocked it!  Spring in VT can be a challenging time, weather-wise, but it proved to be a gorgeous day for the marathon.  The women's lacrosse game was cancelled last week right at game time due to a freak, unpredicted snow storm.  Now, this weekend was a gorgeous one, as you can see from these pictures from the marathon.  It is still pretty brisk, but these two had a lot of fun at the Half Marathon. Great job, guys!! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

J-Term Fun!

J-Term is a wonderful time on campus.  It's a term comprised of the month of January (in most calendar years, although this year it went into the first week of February!) where students take only one class.  It's often something different, allowing them to branch out of their regular area of study and take something they're interested in, but haven't found time for during the regular semester.  The choices are often very different as well, helping to encourage students to do this.  Inevitably, there also ends up being some extra time to do fun, winter things, and here are some of the fun things that the team has been up to for the last month.

Eliana, Isabel and Becca were skating during free-skate a couple times a week, and I joined them one day and got to watch Isabel help instruct us on slapshots and the personal main goal was to NOT fall! 

Several people went skiing.  Gabi was making the most of her winter time here this term before going abroad later in Feb.  She went downhill skiing at the College Snow Bowl, and cross-country skiing at Rikert, our College Nordic Ski Center.  SO FUN!!  Kathryn was there for both of those excursions, as well as hitting the slopes with Meg--see pictures below!  Way to make the most of your remaining time at MIDD, Kathryn, and of course, taking pictures so I can feature you on the Blog!!

Meg is also taking advantage of her time left at MIDD by getting out and enjoying some winter fun.  Even with the relatively, or maybe downright bad snow winter we've had so far, they're still finding a way to find some snowy, wintery fun. 

I think Rose and Sarah may have been sledding, but I didn't get photos from that, and Alice and Emily have been regulars at most of the basketball games--fun season for sure!  I'm sure I'm missing many other fun times.  Jen has been outside Philly doing an internship for the term, but will return next week, so it'll be nice to have her back.  And, Hannah, Charlotte and Melanie are knee deep in their abroad experiences, so hopefully we'll get updates from them soon. 

Winter is great, and it's all about getting out and making the most of it, and layering up when it's cold.  Of course, as those of us who've been here for a while know, it's definitely not over yet--we always seem to get snow over break, so when students return next week, they may just be greeted with a "white campus?!"  

On the brink of Spring sports starting up Feb. 15th, I just want to say, "Happy Winter" before it's over!!  Plus, despite the mild winter so far, March can be a pretty snowy month here...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Lizzy Takes Caitlin's Spin Class in Boston

Wherever Lizzy goes, she always finds a way to fit exercise into her day, which is fabulous!!  When visiting Boston over the Holiday Break, she attending a spin class taught by former teammate, Caitlin Barrett ('13).  It was a MIDD Family affair with both Lisa and Tim, and all three MCVB alums (Lizzy '14, Lauren '11) there to sweat it out together, which is so FUN! 

Thanks for sharing, and if anyone is in the Boston Area, and wants a great spin workout with an MCVB alum, let me know and I'll find out the gym, or Facebook Caitlin because you all are much better with the social media medium than me, but I'm still learning!  (I think Lauren teaches Yoga and Spin, so way to go, guys!!) 


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Team Celebrates Season with Banquet at Waybury Inn

It feels like the season has been over for a long time already, so it was so fun to get the team back together for our banquet Friday night.  Due to the generosity of an alum, and parents of a former player, whose donations allowed us to pay for the banquet, we were able to have a really nice dinner to celebrate our season without asking any of the team to pay, which was great.  We gathered at the Waybury Inn for our dinner and celebrated with good food, some lively conversation and some nice awards.  Most of our awards were certificates that were issued from the NEWVA, AVCA, or the NESCAC, which have already been revealed in previous blog entries after the season, in addition to our Varsity M letter and corresponding certificate.  [PE credit is a graduation requirement, so everyone dose receive 1 credit for playing a varsity sport at MIDD, and thus we have certificates for that.]  However, we did have three awards that were voted on by the team to reveal and hand out also.

Here are the Team Awards that we voted on, and the recipients:

Panther Pride:  This is a new award meant to honor the person on the team who was the best Teammate.  This person should be someone who made those around her better by holding themselves and their teammates accountable to a high standard of excellence both on and off the court. She should be someone who was supportive and understanding, but keeping our mantra of “It’s all about the Team” in mind with her interactions with all teammates.  BECCA RAFFEL

Yellow Jersey Award:  This award is to recognize the person who you feel gave consistent effort in practice on a daily basis throughout the season.  This person should be someone who you feel goes above and beyond in their efforts to become a better player, and demonstrated this consistently throughout the season. CLAIRE WHITE-DZURO

MCVB Spirit Award:  This award is to recognize the person who you feel consistently demonstrated the positive spirit of Middlebury Volleyball.  This person should be someone who was consistently being positive and really encouraging others on a consistent basis, whether things were going well or not, both in practice and at games.  GABI ROSENFELD

Congratulations to all of the award winners!  Of the rest of the awards that were given out at the end of the season, one that bears repeating here is the Academic All-NESCAC awards.  Every upperclassmen on the team achieved this award, which is quite impressive!!  That says a lot about this group of young women, and their dedication to their academics in addition to their dedication to MCVB!  Way to go, ladies!!

We also recognized Judd for his tremendous contributions to our Team all season.  His proactive approach to helping us strengthen areas that he feels he treats often in several people, in addition to helping take care of the injuries is a huge help to us, and we thank him sincerely for those efforts!  Not to mention his sense of humor...We also wanted to recognize Pat Manley for being our Faculty Affiliate.  Unfortunately, she couldn't make our celebration, but she was with us in spirit!  

I also thank our Assistant Coaches for all of the tremendous amount of work they all do.  Brian is a rock--he's so dedicated to this team, and I think everyone understands that, but he is up early to get to work for a full day so he can leave early to be down here for practice.  Then he stays late so individuals can work on whatever they want to after practice in addition to talking with me about everything involved in the Program.  Having both Meg and Lizzy this year was a total bonus.  They both added so much to both practices and games that I felt a little spoiled this year by having a "staff!"  Their insights and contributions to helping with everything from individual skill technique to fitness, to team tactics is so helpful.  I'm so grateful for having them all be involved with our Program to make MCVB be all that it is!!
Our captains were also voted on by the team, and so now as our "off-season" starts, we have a new set of captains to take the reigns and organize the team for next year.  Hannah was again selected captain, along with Gabi and Becca.  Since all four juniors will be going abroad this Spring, that puts Becca and the rest of the sophomores in charge of our off-season workouts, community service,  and team bonding activities.  

We wish our juniors safe travels to their respective places abroad, and I'm sure we'll be hearing from them.  Happy Holidays to all!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Hannah, Becca and Isabel Honored by NEWVA & AVCA

The rest of the post-season awards came out last week, and Hannah, Becca and Isabel were all honored.  Both the NEWVA (New England Women's Volleyball Association) and the AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) came out with their awards, and MIDD was well-represented, so congrats guys!

The NEWVA Awards were as follows:
  • Becca--2nd Team All-Region
  • Hannah--Honorable Mention All-Region  
  • Isabel--All-Rookie Team
The AVCA awards were:
  • Becca--Honorable Mention All-American
  • Becca--All-Region (Northeast Region)
  • Hannah--Honorable Mention All-Region (Northeast Region)

These are very nice honors to be sure.  It's obviously very difficult to make an All-Conference Team, and then that much harder to be singled out as the groups get larger and larger, so congrats to all three of these players for such nice individual honors.  AND, as it always needs to be acknowledged, without the TEAM, these individual honors don't mean anything.  So, congrats to MCVB 2015 for a great season!!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

All-NESCAC Teams Announced--Becca 1st Team, Hannah 2nd Team!

 The NESCAC just posted the All-Conference Team, and both Becca and Hannah were honored by the Conference.  Becca was the only underclassmen represented on either team, which was comprised of all juniors and seniors, as she was honored by being named to the First Team this year after being 2nd Team last year along with Co-Rookie of the Year honors.  Here is what they said about both:

"Sophomore outside hitter Becca Raffel did it all for Middlebury this season. The 2014 NESCAC Co-Rookie of the Year is second in the league with 357 kills and third with 3.80 kills per set while hitting .257. She also posted 224 digs en route to nine double-doubles to go along with 31 service aces."
   "Middlebury junior setter Hannah Blackburn was the remaining repeat selection, as she landed on the Second Team for the second straight year."  

This is a great honor for both of these players, as it's very tough to be named one of the top players in a Conference as deep in talent as the NESCAC.  Congrats to both of you!
Becca was also our selection for the NESCAC All-Sportsmanship Team, which is a very nice honor voted on by her teammates, so congrats to Becca for that honor also!

Here's the link to the official release:  2015 All-NESCAC Volleyball Team's Announced

Monday, November 9, 2015

Season Ends in NESCAC Semi-Finals

We earned the #4 seed after beating Tufts in our last regular season match at home on Halloween weekend, and for that, we ended up having to play them again the following weekend in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC Tournament in the #4 vs #5 match at Bowdoin.  Because we played the 8pm match, we were planning on spending the night regardless of outcome, but we all wanted to spend the night, AND play the next day this year! 

Our travel issues that we've had more this year than ever before unfortunately continued, and we found ourselves sitting in traffic on I 295 at 6pm when we wanted to be pulling into the gym!  It was very unseasonably warm outside, and the upper gym where we were due to play was very hot after the 5:30 match, so that seemed to work in our favor as some of our players who normally heat before matches were able to be ready to warm up in much less time than usual, and we started our warmup about 20 minutes after arriving on campus, and only about 5-10 minutes later than usual.  The Team was very focused, and they were composed and ready to go from the start, despite our disrupted routine from arriving late.  We came out and played tough right from the start, taking both of the first two sets from Tufts. 

We did have some fans there cheering for us.  We had several parents again, which is great especially considering the travel up to Maine!  Isabel's mom beat us to the gym, I think, and I know I saw Sarah's mom and Gracie, and the Kolodkas, and maybe Jen's parents.  I may be missing some others, but thank you to all those that made the trek to cheer us on!  And, one of my best college friends lives in Brunswick, and although her husband works at Bowdoin, they're both MIDD alums, so her kids proudly wore their MIDD gear to support us also!

The first set was very tight with 13 tied scores, and no one able to get up by more than 3 points the entire set.  Tied at 22-22, a kill by Gabi and Becca surrounding an attack error by them put us up 1-0 in sets.  The second set was more a set of streaks than the first.  We raced out to leads of 6-2 and 19-7 before Tufts closed the gap on a couple of runs of their own, scoring 5 unanswered points, then a couple more, then, down 16-24, they rallied off four straight points before we could notch the last one we needed to win the set 25-20.

Tufts held the momentum from their comeback, taking an 8-0 lead in the 3rd set.  We had several attack errors, and made some personnel changes, and chipped away at the lead they had built after their strong start.  Down 2-10, we fought back to 12-18, and 16-22, but couldn't get close enough to challenge for the set, and we dropped that set 19-25.  The fourth set was back and forth again, with 9 tied scores up to 13-13.  We had a couple of two point runs, but then up 17-15 we went on a 5 point run behind  strong serving by Becca to take a 22-15 lead that we wouldn't give up.  Up 22-16, Gabi got a kill, and followed it up with a service ace to take us to match point, that we won on a block by Melanie and Hannah for the win!  Here's the link for the Tufts Match

Emily led five players with double digit digs with a team high 25, while also matching Gabi for match and team high 3 aces.  Gabi also paced our net defense with a match high 5 blocks.   Becca was our offensive leader with a match high 15 kills, while also tallying 2 blocks, 2 aces, and 13 digs. Hannah set a very balanced offense with 6 players with double digit attempts and very evenly balanced with the exception of Becca, who plays 6 rotations.  Eliana, Gabi, and Alice were our most efficient hitters, along with Hannah, all hitting over .286.

I was very proud of the team for the way we responded to arriving later than we wanted, and for our composure during the match.  Tufts is a very animated team, and is very loud and excitable, and with several seniors on the team we knew they would be ready for our re-match.  We'd just beaten them on the last day of the regular season, exactly a week before, and it's tough to beat the same team twice in a row, especially if they're a strong team.  However, we were very steady, and composed, and we played together, just like we've been talking about all season.  Alice came in and played outside for us when we were struggling to get something going at the beginning of the 3rd set, and that proved to be a key switch.  Our depth in several positions has been a key for us all season!  Different people have stepped up at various times to impact our on-court success, and that's always a sign of a very good team, and it was great to see that in our team this year.  We were also very competitive in practice day in and day out, and that makes a big difference as the season progresses, too. It was a great match for us, and was fun to play! 

We stayed at the same hotel as our Field Hockey team that was playing in the NESCAC semi's on Saturday at Bowdoin also, so that was fun.  As the 4th seed, we played Bowdoin (#1 seed) on Saturday after they'd beaten Bates in a quick 3-0 match (that was over before we even arrived at the gym Friday night!)  We made our ritualistic stop at DD on Saturday morning on our way to Bowdoin, but the extra caffeine wasn't quite enough to propel us past the Polar Bears. 

We were tough in the first set, keeping it pretty close, but we always seemed to be playing catch up.  We were constantly behind by 3-4 points, but kept fighting back after we'd go down by a few points, and tied it a 13-13, and 14-14 before they went on a 7 point run that we couldn't recover from.  Down 14-21, we made a run of our own to get back to 18-23, and then scored a few more to close the final gap, but lost the first set 21-25.

The second set was more of the same, except that we got out to an early lead 11-7 before they again went on an 8 point run to go up 15-11.  We countered with a run of our own to tie it at 17-17.  They went up 22-19, and again, we fought back to tie it at 22-22, and then 24-24 before they blocked us, and then a tough float serve looked to be sailing out, and then just dropped on the back line between two of us for set point.

That was a bit deflating, but then the 3rd set put the nail in the coffin, so to speak.  They got out to a 1-4 lead, and then a 7-12 lead before again rattling off 7 serves on their setter's serve once again, and that put us down 8-19.  We fought, and had some great scramble plays, but we just couldn't overcome that deficit.  There's a part of me that hates to say this, but I think Bowdoin was probably the best team we played this year.  Both Williams and Amherst were very good, but not as consistent against us as Bowdoin was, at least in this final match.  Here's the link to the stats for the Bowdoin Match.  Hannah and Emily tied for team highs in digs (14), while Becca and Isabel tied for team highs in kills (8).  Melanie was our lone blocker tallying more than 1.  Sarah and Alice were our most efficient hitters, hitting .333 each, while Isabel and Gabi both hit above .200 as well.

We'd played them so long ago during the regular season, back in the middle of September, that we hardly remembered that match.  I had watched several matches more recently, and we knew they had a very good middle attack, and one of the best pin hitters in the Conference in #17, and those kids definitely hurt us.  Their defense was really what made the difference as they were in system so much more than most teams we'd played recently, especially Tufts, and that allowed their offense to do whatever they wanted.  They hit around our block, tipped over our block, and really challenged our defense in every way.  Our defense has been steadily getting better pretty much all season, and our offense has improved as well, to the point where I felt like we were peaking at the right time.  Our matches with Tufts the last two weeks were great examples of that level of play, but we just didn't quite have enough on Saturday to best a hot Bowdoin team, who did go on to win the Championship against Williams on Sunday.  We had great contributions from many different people, and that depth was a key for us all season.  We haven't been able to use depth like that for several years, and I'm very excited and encouraged by that as we have everyone coming back next year with no seniors on this team.

I was hoping to get to have dinner with the team Saturday night before Championship Sunday, but I did end up getting a lobster roll with Melanie that we brought back on the bus to eat on the way home.  A little heavy on the mayo, but still pretty good!

Now, we'll take some time off, get caught up on work, and then hopefully start up with some team community service opportunities, some lifting, and just general college life experiences outside of volleyball.  All four juniors are going abroad, so we'll hope to have some fun updates from them later this year, and we'll hopefully have some holiday cookie decorating fun, among other things--maybe even another Catan playday?!  Thanks Team, for a wonderful season!!