Sunday, November 9, 2008

MIDD Ends Season in NESCAC Quarterfinals

As the #5 seed heading into the Tournament, we felt very good facing the #4 seed Williams. We'd just played them last week on Senior night, and even though we lost a very close match with them, we felt like we could not only play with them, but also beat them. They'd had injuries and had people playing different positions, and in general seemed to be a little "off," and we thought that with our team this year, that was all we needed to come out on top of that match-up. Well, they were ON their game on Friday night. Despite some great performances by our team we came up short.

We faced an early set-back as Natalie injured her eye during warm-ups and eventually told us that pretty much everything to her right was blurry. Reisa could play 3 of the rotations as Libero, but we couldn't make a switch until the next game. On top of that, the two big hitters for Williams were on fire. They were getting good passes, and they really overpowered us with that offense. Those two in particular were hitting over our block, and making our defensive assignments very tough.

We had some fantastic individual performances with Reisa really stepping up as the Libero and playing great defense! Lindsay was again the one who was bringing everyone together and keeping people focused and motivated to win every point. She had a game at Libero too, in hopes that we could stabilize our serve receive, but then Reisa came in and did a great job allowing Lindsay to play all the way around again. The freshman duo of Jane and Caroline did an excellent job putting pressure on their defense with some great, powerful shots. Unfortunately, they actually dug a lot of those, and at least were able to keep those balls in play that normally would have gone down for kills. Our middles also played well, and despite being #1 and #2 individually in the Conference in blocks, were not able to come up with many blocks that night. The important effect that those two had on channeling the hits around them, however, never will show up in the stats, and that's what they did all night. The Eph hitters may hit over our outside blockers some, but they usually can't get over our middles. Once we moved the block out a little more it helped us position our defense a little better, but it still wasn't enough to match Williams offensive strengths.

It's been a wonderful season, and it's always sad to see it come to an end. We had enormous fan support this weekend as parents from at least 6 players were here from all over the country! Thank you FANS!! We have a great mix of classes now, and we will certainly miss our FOUR seniors next year!! The good news, and the up-side of losing 4 seniors is that the underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) comprise the bulk of our offense. With Lauren and Whitney as the sophomores, and Jane, Caroline and Elissa all freshmen, we have a lot of starters coming back for next year, which is very exciting, not to mention a pretty full bench to round out what has been our strongest team in recent years.

I may have some pictures coming, and here is a link to the pictures that Ellen's mom took from this weekend--thank you, Anne!!

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