Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tufts Win first in years!

We traveled down to Tufts to play only our 3rd Conference Match of the season. Tufts has been one of the strongest teams in the Conference, and we hadn't beaten them in several years. Once again, we started very strongly, and won the first game behind some tough serving, and good passing, allowing our offense to really get good looks. Tufts seemed to be a little shocked, and recovered for the 2nd game by getting us out of system, and back on our heels trying to keep pace with their offense, which had picked up steam since the first game. The 3rd game was again like what we saw at Colby-Sawyer, when we came from behind to tie the game, and then pulled out the victory in the 3rd. This is what we hadn't really done earlier in the season, and to be able to accomplish that in two matches in a row, against two tough teams was an accomplishment for our team. We were able to recover from bad plays, or from good plays from Tufts much more quickly, and get back on track with our game plan. Our defense was very strong, led by our new libero Natalie DuPre, and freshmen setter Lauren Barrett did an excellent job running the offense, and serving tough. Whitney Bean, who was here last fall, but didn't play due to injury, has come out and really made a difference for us too--she was going head to head with the leading blocker in the Conference, and was only stuffed once, and had several kills for a very strong hitting %. The steady eddy's from last year are middle Josie, and outside hitters Kate and Lindsay. Our only All-Conference Selection from last year, Lexie Fisher laeds our offense day in and day out. Lexie has been a tough one for other teams to match up against, and we're happy to see that even though she's a senior, and they know what she can is capable of, she really poses problems for other teams, not just with her hitting, but also with her blocking! Great win--any win in our Conference is considered a good win, and this one was really nice to have under our belt heading into our home Conference weekend where we'll play the Maine schools!


This week at Middlebury was a crazy week, really. The Middlebury Initiative was happening this weekend, and so our facilities were taken over from Thursday through Sunday. We had people out of practice due to soreness, we had random old-fashioned facilities with obstacles both on the floor and around the net, and in general, I wasn't sure we were going to be as prepared as we wanted to be for Colby-Sawyer, who was having a great season so far. We played down at Castleton because we weren't able to play our own home game in our gym for reasons stated above. Again, we came out strong, and won the first game, and after we lost the 2nd and third games closely, and got down in the 4th, it seemed like Skidmore might be happening again. The turning point was when we came back from 21-24 to go ahead 25-24. That was a huge swing for us. We served well, and kept the pressure on them so that we were in system more often, and in control of the tempo. We won that 4th game, and the enthusiasm and confidence seemed to catapult us well into the 5th game. We were in command of that game from the start, despite the score being relatively close. We had several match points, and even though we gave up a couple, we really played a complete game, and that is what we needed to do before heading into some tough Conference play Sunday and next weekend. It was a great team win, with 10 of the 11 players on the team contributing through playing time!


We came out really strong in the first game against Skidmore, and I thought we looked good. We were playing well, and it was nice to see us get out to a strong start. After the first game, however, two things happened: Skidmore found their groove hitting, and we got off track a bit, and we seemed out of system more than we were in it. The third game was what killed us, though, I think. We were close the 2nd game, but couldn't quite come from behind to even tie the game in the late 20's, and when we lost the 3rd game decisively, I think we lost confidence. The bright lights of the evening were Kate Heath and Whitney Bean, who both had shoulder surgery last spring, and have been a little slower to get going this year. They both had excellent games statistically, and more importantly, they were sharp. Both were swinging well, and with power that they hadn't quite found consistently until tonight, and both were just sharp--that was great to see, despite the team loss!