Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lindsay Honored as a Top Senior in New England

Last weekend Lindsay Patterson participated in the New England Senior Classic held at Wellesley College. It's in conjunction with the NEWVA coaches meeting, and is held to honor the top 20 or so seniors in New England. We know there is some pretty tough competition within NESCAC, let alone within all of New England, so this is a very nice honor. Congratulations to Lindsay on a great career as a MIDDLEBURY PANTHER!! We'll miss you, but are very proud of all you have given to the Program! Congrats again!

More Jane in the News!!

Jane has been racking up the honors this season, and the final one just came in, I think. Our Fab. Frosh found herself on the Honorable Mention All-American list!! CONGRATS to Jane for that very nice honor. We're very proud of her for all of her accomplishments, and that is a great topper to a very nice first season!! Way to go, Jane!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jane is NESCAC & New England Rookie of the Year

Jane, along with Caroline started to redefine our offense this year, and consequently were a large part of our success. As a freshman, Jane was 2nd in the Conference in Kills, and 8th in Service Aces. She was NESCAC Player of the Week for Oct. 20th, and was consistently our offensive leader all year. She was recently recognized for her efforts this year by being honored with the following awards:

NESCAC Rookie of the Year
AVCA New England Rookie of the Year (American Volleyball Coaches Association)
NEWVA Rookie of the Year (New England Womens' Volleyball Association)
Congratulations to Jane for these outstanding achievements!!

MIDD VB in local newspaper

These were pictures and captions in the local newspaper, the Addison Independent, after our last regular season home match with Williams on Oct. 29, 2008.

"MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE FRESHMAN Elissa Goeke, far right, celebrates with volleyball teammates Olivia Minkhorst, Jane Handel, Natalie Dupre and Caroline Cordle after scoring a point for the Panthers during a match with Williams last Wednesday night. Handel, upper left, was NESCAC player of the week for the week of Oct. 20, when Middlebury went 4-0."

Independent photos/Trent Campbell

"MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE SOPHOMORES Lauren Barrett, and Whitney Bean get their hands up in front of a Williams spike and freshman Jane Handel, below, scores a kill during volleyball action last week. The Panther volleyball team has won eight of its last nine matches as it heads to the NESCAC playoffs this weekend."
Independent photos/Trent Campbell

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!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

BUSY Last Week for Panthers

In our last four days of the regular season we played four Conference Matches. It seems I have a lot to catch up on here. We lost to Williams in our last home game of the year, but it was a great night in other ways: it was our return to Pepin! and it was Senior Night! The Bubble has been a great place to practice given that the gym wasn't available, but we were all very excited to say the least to be back on the hardwood for our last home game. The atmosphere in Pepin is just much better, and the floor looks fabulous!

Our FOUR seniors have racked up some pretty nice honors, with three of them having been named All-NESCAC Academic last year, and Olivia holding the school record for the most digs in a singe match with 44! They have also won the AVCA Team Academic Award every year, which is an impressive achievement. Mallory sang the National Anthem with some of her a capella group, the Mischords, and Lexie read our senior night write-up and starting line-ups. I was even the recipient of some very unexpected flowers from the Patterson's. Lacee, Susie and Danny were all here to witness Lindsay's final home appearance, and Josie had an Aunt and Uncle here for her, but Kate and Olivia's families weren't able to make it.

This past weekend we played all three Maine schools to finish out the Regular Season. We swept Bowdoin with two come-from-behind games to get our weekend off on a good note. The next day, Bates came out on fire, and overpowered us in the first set of that match before we got our act together and took the next three somewhat handily. After that match, we completely outplayed Colby for two games, and then with their season hanging in the balance, Colby fought back into the match by taking set three, and making a real go at set 4. We were able to hold them off in the fourth to take the match, and with that win, Bates then surpassed Colby for the last spot in the 8 team Tournament.

Our wins this weekend put us at 6-4 overall, and good enough for the 5th seed next weekend, playing Williams. Despite having just played them and lost a tough match, we are very excited to play them again. This is the highest seed we've had in the last few years, and we're very much looking forward to our Friday night match-up with the purple cows!!

The other fun things that happened this weekend were the following (in no particular order):

Lauren's mom brought us dinner goodies, AGAIN!!! Thank you!!
The Patterson's, Barrett's, and the Goeke's were all there to cheer us on!
We (FINALLY, Ellen) got to go to Panerra for dinner!
We had a candy exchange on the bus--yummy.
We watched some, well, interesting movies.
We decided that only Ollie can run the DVD machine on the bus.
We had a very fun "social hour" on our ride home--it felt like it took HOURS, oh, it DID take hours!
The moon was beautiful as we pulled away from Colby before our 6 hour return bus ride.
The coaches won the first competition of the weekend--an informal costume contest featuring our travel group against the Maine group.
The Colby Head Coach had her baby on Friday morning, and still managed to show up for our match with them on Saturday afternoon, although she wasn't on the bench.
Molly kicked my tush on our run on Saturday morning, again.
Lauren knocked the nice map of Maine off the wall in the Hotel Lobby. (NO harm done!)
Lindsay's mom bought us snacks for between games! Thank you!!
Bates exploded with delight after we beat Colby once they knew for sure that that meant they were in the tournament for the first time in years!

Pictures will follow later this week.