Sunday, September 14, 2008

Season Opens Against Regional Powers

Well, we certainly started the season off with a bang, but not quite the bang we were hoping for. Our first match this season was against the New England Regional winner from last season, and Conference foe Amherst. I'm not exactly sure how to sum it up best, but it was over almost before it started, I think. I'm afraid we may have been shell-shocked. We seemed rusty, nervous, and tight, and they were loose, and firing on all cylinders. We commented after the match that I don't think they gave us one free ball all night, and that was very nearly the truth! They were pounding from the front row and the back row, and never gave us a chance to breathe. It was fairly ugly, so we'll leave it at that.

Amherst may have out-played us on Friday night, but I guarantee that we had a better dinner that night! Thanks to Lauren's gracious family, we all went over to her house for a WONDERFUL dinner. I practically had to drag the team out before midnight so we all could get some sleep. What a nice evening! It did the trick, apparently, as we came to the gym in the morning, and defeated Eastern Connecticut handily in three games. It was great to get a win, and it was great to do it the way we did: using a lot of different people. We're still trying out different combinations to see which ones we like, and which ones work best in different situations etc.

The GREAT news about the team this year is that we have a lot of options! Almost everyone saw action on the court at some point this weekend, and we had a strong showing from our first-years. It's an exciting year because we have a lot of experience with 4 seniors, energetic and talented freshmen, and a host of other upperclassmen to make this the most competitive and deep MIDD team in years. We tried a few different line-ups, and many of them looked good this weekend. Even though we lost two matches, we felt much better about our play as the weekend progressed.

Our last match of the weekend was against host Wellesley, who was also in the Regional Finals last year. They had a powerful offense like Amherst, so we had a challenge in front of us. The good news was that after barely touching a ball with our block against Amherst, we started to get some good touches and even a few stuff blocks. Our defense also started to come around as we dug quite a few of those power blasts, which was great to see. We fought hard to take a game from them, but couldn't quite pull it off, despite Wellesley helping us out by serving into the net several times!

I'm hoping to get some pictures from the weekend up soon, but I wanted to get this out as soon as possible. Despite being so far from home (it took us nearly 5 hours), we had a host of fans, which was really fun! We had parents (and friends/family) for all four of our freshmen there, and also Lauren's parents and older brother who live nearby, so we felt like we had a pretty large cheering section! THANK YOU ALL!!

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