Sunday, September 27, 2009

MIDD Wins 2 of 3 at Amherst Classic

What a fun weekend for MIDD VB! We have been off to a great start this year, but we hadn't been through the really hard test of a Conference foe yet. This weekend we faced Westfield State, Amherst and Brandeis at the Amherst Classic, and got our test! Westfield was a tough match as they dug just about everything we hit their way, but we came out on top of a three game win, finding each set score get closer and closer. Three of our hitters, (Jane, Elissa, and Whit) all had great hitting % nights with only two hitting errors between the three of them to go with 21 total kills. Lauren had her typical night distributing the ball around, and making very good decisions. Mallory and Sarah came of the bench to add a new look for us. Mallory added some solid passing, and we got Sarah some additional front row time.

After that first match, we ended up at a familiar destination for dinner--Whole Foods hot bar! That's a fun eating experience for us that we discovered was close to our hotel last year. The amazing selection of tasty foods is fun for all of us. Everyone was adding things to their plate, and then weighing it to see how much more they could afford to add without going over our budget. Joining us were Jane's father, and Elissa's parents, so that was fun as well. We had more fans arriving the next morning for Saturday's matches including the Barretts, and Caroline's mom and sisters, and Jane's Aunt/Uncle etc, in addition to a few friends that go to Amherst. We had a great fan base for being away from home--thank you parents and fans!!

Saturday morning saw us come rested and ready to go. We beat Amherst in 4 games, and that was thrilling for us. It's been a few (?) years since we've beaten Amherst, so the team was pretty excited about that win, even though it doesn't count toward our Conference Standings! We had another good hitting game for most of our hitters, which was great to see. Both Caroline and Jane led us in Kills, but Julia, Elissa and Whit were all involved in the offense to give us some great balance. Whit, Elissa and Lauren all had good blocking games as well, which was nice to see. Their top hitter from the outside was hitting deep over our block, however, and really challenged our defense, but for the most part, we rose to the occasion! We tallied up a lot of digs, and passed the ball pretty well out of serve receive so we could run our offense. Oddly enough, the off-speed ball sent us sprawling on the floor more than anything. Always more things to work on!

That afternoon, we had to rebound from our emotional win and come back and play a very tough Brandeis team. Thanks to Lauren's parents, the team had a nice selection of snacks between matches, and got as rested and refueled as possible in the 50 + minutes between the end of the Amherst match, and the beginning of the Brandeis match. They blocked us very well, and so our offense struggled a little to get going. In this match-up, Julia was our main offense, and their block didn't get to her as she went around it in every direction. Caroline came up big with a ton of digs, and Reisa and Natalie both played great in the back row splitting the Libero spot all day long. Overall, our serve receive didn't hold up as well against Brandeis as it did against Amherst, and we saw our receiving errors almost double. Our only hitter who hit 100% was Caitlin...from the back row! She was two for two, which shows you she's on the ball and saw a couple of opportunities, and capitalized on them! Nice going! Also, Elissa had a 6k/1e/18att match, which was great to go with Julia's 13k/4e/35att stats. Our outsides racked up some good kills, but Jane struggled with the block a bit, and Caroline was aiming for the back line with some aggressive topspin shots that overshot just a tad.

All in all, it was a great weekend. We would like to have a few points back in that last match against Brandeis, but they were a tough match, and a fun one to play. We have another full week coming, with games on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, but at least Tues, and Thurs. are home. Oh, and by the way, great car, Joe! You look good behind the wheel of that car!

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