Sunday, September 11, 2011

First Road Trip Ends in Split

It was our first road trip of the new season, and unfortunately, we couldn't take our whole team. Nevertheless, we were prepared to play, and play we did on our first day. I guess we were desperate for game action because we extended both of our first day matches to 5 games each. We started out with a tough 5 game loss to St. Mary's of MN. Our first two games were not that pretty, as we clearly were in first-game-of-the-season mode. Fortunately, we got on track and won the next two games fairly handily. We did not come out to start the 5th very strongly, and thus lost that last set, which was a big bummer since we had finally gotten on track, but couldn't quite pull out the win. It was fun to play a solid team from another Region, though, and it was a good test for us. Without Jane, we had the duo of Sarah Studwell, and Meg Anderson playing the front row/back row combo at OH, along with MJ. We had Maddie and Elissa in the middle, and Court setting with Julia playing RH.

Next we had Endicott, whom we had lost to in 5 games last year to start the season. It was a pretty even match all the way through, but as we were entering the 5th game, Elissa was in pain with a throbbing hand. As I looked down at it, it was black and blue, and bulging out around a fairly tight tape job after having jammed her thumb in practice on Thursday. We sent her to the bench, and went with our secret weapon in the Middle: Studwell! We practiced her there some last year, and because of her athleticism and quickness, she was well equipped to handle the challenge. We were in a tight battle in the 5th, but we emerged with the late lead, and hung on to finish out with the win! Stud did a nice job as a very undersized (in comparison to their middles) middle hitter/blocker, and came up with a couple big plays. It was a great team win, with Amy Hart and Meg Anderson combining to play OH, and Stud in the Middle, so that 9 of our 10 players that were dressed all played in the match.

After sleeping in and having a leisurely breakfast, we headed back to the gym to watch a bit of the UMass Boston vs. Salve match, since we'd play both those teams later. UMass looked pretty much the same as last year, and we were very excited to play them. We started out fine, and had a close, back and forth first set. After that, however, the wheels seemed to come off. Courtney was having feet troubles, thus affecting her control, which eventually sent her to the bench in pain. Julia switched roles to become the setter, and Amy played RH, and that seemed like it could work, but we just couldn't get anthing going our way, and ended up losing the next two sets badly.

For Salve, however, we got into a groove, and even though I think we were a more talented team, I think we showed a lot of poise and heart to win that one in three straight sets. After winning the first set 28-26, we cruised to a couple of sets keeping them in the teens. Salve was scrappy and tenacious, and kept coming at us, but Julia did a great job setting, and the hitters all started to get into a rhythm, more or less, and we started to play some MIDD VB. So, we have some work for poor Rachel (our trainer), but hopefully we'll get everyone healthy and ready to go again soon!! Nicki was our only Rookie to come and see action so far this season, and that was great to see.

We had some great parent support again, which was fun! We also had a visit from the Barrett Puppies, at different stages of puppy-hood, as can be seen in the pics. I'm not sure who was loving it more, the players hugging the puppies, or the puppies being bathed in all the attention from the players?! We, once again, ate well on the ride home with "The Sandwiches" from Caitlin's mom, and pies and deserts from Julia, Stud, Caitlin, & MJ. We put it all on the bus and ate on the way, which was great since we had to go up to Burlington before coming south again to MIDD due to all the washed out roads everywhere. With 5 hours each way on the bus, having food and good movies is a must! :)

We hit the court again on Wednesday night for our Home Opener against Norwich University.

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