Sunday, October 31, 2010

MIDD Finishes Regular Season with 2 Conference Wins

It was Halloween weekend, and again we found ourselves at Hamilton, for the 2nd year in a row. This time we were facing Hamilton and Williams, and we were fighting for a top seed for the upcoming Conference Tournament. On Friday night we faced an ever improving Hamilton squad, which we managed to put away in 3 sets behind some very solid play all around. Jane and Julia were our offensive leaders with 11 kills apiece, and only 3 errors between them. MJ also had 10 kills, and Stud had a great hitting night with 6 kills and only 1 error in just over 1 game!

Lauren's parents (OK, Caitlin's too), brought us those wonderful sandwiches again and some salad and other goodies so that we could stay there and eat dinner and watch the Williams vs. Amherst match at 8pm that night. If Williams beat Amherst, then we would be playing for the top seed the next day against Williams. They certainly made it exciting for us! My gut said that Williams just didn't have it that night after they lost the first two games, and were down quite a bit in the 3rd. But then again, it is NESCAC volleyball, and in typical NESCAC fashion, Williams went on a run, and came back in that 3rd game to win. Not only that, but they won the 4th too, to force a deciding 5th game. It was all well worth the free price of admission as it was back and forth the whole way, but Williams couldn't quite pull out the victory, and lost 16-18 in the 5th. We were all glued to the bleachers, and found ourselves in the unusual position of rooting for Williams!

The next morning, we got our chance to play Williams, and our shot at winning the 2nd seed outright. Jane and Julia were again our offensive leaders, along with MJ with 12, 12, and 13 kills respectively, while Elissa contributed 7 kills. We served very well in the match, recording a total of 14 aces, one of which was match point--yeah MJ! Elissa led the serving stats with 4 aces, but Lauren and MJ both added 3, and Jane and Caitlin each had one, which meant that each one of our servers had an ace in the match, which I don't think has happened all year? Jane led our defense with 24 digs, while Caitlin had 14.

It was a little lopsided, as only one set had both teams in the 20's. We won the first and third games by the scores of 25-15, and 25-17, and they won set two 25-18. In the final set, however, we came from behind to win 25-22. We were down 14-17 when I heard Brain remark, "come on now, let's get one here!" I think we may have pulled ahead on that server, and then exchanged points before having a little run at the end to pull ahead for the win. It was a very exciting win for us, as that was the first time our seniors had ever beaten Williams! (Truth be told, it was also Brian's first win over them, which I hadn't even realized since he's been here for 7 seasons now. Yikes!) Needless to say, it was fun!

After the match, Stud's mom had prepared us a fantastic meal to take with us so that we could hop on the bus and head home. Her parfaits, a marvelous fruit salad, and pasta salad, in addition to other various goodies! THANK YOU, PARENTS!! We've had unparalleled support this year from our parents, who have taken care of us on the road, and at home, which is so wonderful. They not only come and cheer us on, but they bring all kinds of food and goodies with them. Julia's mom brought Halloween goodies--yum, and the parfaits that Stud's mom is now famous for were gone long before lunch was even thought about! I'm noticing now, however, that the picture we took didn't have all of our parents that were there even in it. Meg's parents, Stud's parents, and Cordle's mom and sister were all there as well as those pictured. (Sorry we missed the whole group picture!)

As we left for home, there was talk about the Amherst vs. Hamilton match. If somehow Hamilton could manage to beat Amherst, we could still end up with the #1 seed. No offense to Hamilton, but we just didn't think that was possible this year. As we were headed west on I90, we get a text from a parent that had stayed behind that Hamilton had just won the first game and the bus erupted in cheers. It would be short-lived, as Amherst won the next three relatively quickly, but it was fun to think about--go Hamilton!

Now, we're preparing for the Tournament with one match at a time on our minds. We got paired up with Trinity in the #2 vs. #7 seed at 5pm next Friday, and we will be ready! The NESCAC Tournament should be as deep as it's ever been, and we are all excited about that challenge and the opportunity to keep playing! We will keep focused on playing our best volleyball, and see how far that takes us. We try to look at one match at a time all season, but especially at this point in the season, it's more true than ever. At this point, each match you win earns you the opportunity to play one more.

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