Sunday, September 21, 2008

Good Showing at First NESCAC Weekend

We traveled to Hamilton to face the three Connecticut Schools. Yes, that's a typical NESCAC weekend for us, even though it rarely makes sense to anyone else. We opened with Trinity, who has been a thorn in our sides for quite a few years! A splinter in our foot may be more appropriate. We've had multiple 5 game matches with them over the last several years. I believe that we've lost most of those, if not all of them the last few years, but NOT THIS TIME!

It was another grueling, albeit ugly match between us, with both teams tipping, batting and scrambling to try to keep the ball in play. There were spells of good hitting, but that wouldn't appropriately describe the match as a whole. After falling behind 2 games to 1, AND trailing 22-17 in the 4th, we showed what Heart and Soul and MIDD PRIDE can do, and we pulled out that 4th game, and then cruised to a win in the 5th! It was very exciting for us all, and for a coach, the best thing was the Heart that the team showed in just digging deep, and finding it within themselves to pull out that victory. We had a very balanced attack in this match, with five people having 5 or more Kills (Lindsay, Jane, Lauren, Kate and Whit). Our defense was balanced with everyone contributing, and both Ollie and Reisa did a nice job helping our defensive efforts both with serve receive, and with digging the junk that they were dishing out, although they were trying to tip us to death! Nat was our defensive anchor again with 28 digs.

We were the last ones to leave the gym that night due to the long match, and it was very nearly 10:00 pm when we finished, maybe even later. Lindsay's parents were so kind as to bring food to the match for us to just take back to the hotel and eat--that was a godsend!! After that, we had a relaxing and easy morning. We slept in and then had a team breakfast around 10:00, which is a luxury for a weekend like this. We arrived early to the gym so we could check out what was happening in the early matches, and then we faced Conn. at 1:30.

We came out pretty sharp and ready to go, and won the first two matches by narrow margins, but we felt we were in control of the match. Perhaps that feeling went to our heads a bit, because we failed to come out in the third game with the same fire and desire as the first two, and actually lost rather badly that game. Fortunately, we recovered quickly, and bounced back to win the 4th to take a decisive victory over them. We were led statistically by our outsides, Lindsay and Jane with double digit Kills each, and Elissa and Whit combined for 4 and 5 blocks respectively. Also, Natalie came through with a huge defensive game with 31 digs.

Our last match of the weekend proved to be our toughest, both mentally and physically. Facing a very tough Wesleyan team who had just been defeated by Williams prior to our match, we came out firing away. We took the first game decisively, and knew it was only a matter of time before they woke up out of their funk and started to play. We were prepared for a tough match with them, but we seemed to be showing signs of mental fatigue as much as anything. We played them tough in the 2nd despite their hitters getting more on track. This was the game where we really needed a burst toward the end to fight back to take that game. We couldn't put a string together late, and lost a close one 25-22. Being up 2-0 would have been tough to overcome at that point in the weekend for Wesleyan, but tied 1-1, it was anyone's match. From there, we seemed to have a slow leak, and almost looked as if we were going to throw in the towel, but fortunately we rebounded at the end of the 4th game to make it respectable, despite losing the last three games straight. Elissa had a decent blocking game, but we couldn't get much offense from anywhere except Jane, Lindsay and Whit, with 16, 14, and 6 Kills respectively. Our outside blocks had a tough time, which made our defense cover that much more ground. Also, their OH who is the #1 hitter in our league woke up and blasted us for 17 Kills in the match after a slow first game.

All in all, the weekend was a good success for us as a team. We had left Caroline at home due to health reasons, and it's never good to be missing anyone from a Conference Weekend. I think we all felt good about our accomplishments as a team, and we've started out well at 2-1, but we have a lot of things that we want to work on before we face our next Conference foes. At this point, we're looking forward to our Home Opener on Tuesday night--the first official match in the Bubble! It should be an exciting match against a very tough Union team.

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