Sunday, September 25, 2011

Team Splits at Amherst Classic

The Amherst Classic has been a great weekend of competitive volleyball for several years now, and this was no exception. Coast Guard was our first challenge, and it was a very tough, and close match. Last year we lost in 4 games, three of which we lost by two points each. This year the match was just as close, but went to 5 games. We came out well in the first game, and were in system, and swinging hard, and ended with a 25-16 win. In that first game alone, Amy had 4 kills, Stud and MJ both had 3, and Maddie had 2 kills with only 3 hitting errors between them. We were doing a nice job of mixing up our shots, and we passed pretty well. Stud exploded for 6 kills on 11 swings in the second, but we couldn't couldn't pull out the win and lost 23-25. The third was more of the same back and forth action with both teams making plays, and going on small runs, and we came out on top 26-24. The fourth saw some bigger point swings, as we dug ourselves a bit of a mid-game hole that we ran out of time to climb out of, and thus forced the 5th.

Unfortunately, we came out swinging hard, but had a few hitting errors to start the 5th, and also our serve receive hit a bump in the road, and our out of system play didn't fare so well. After getting down 4-0, we came back and tied it at 6-6 (somewhat on our good play, and somewhat on their errors). It was tied again at 8-8 before hitting our final hump where we were out-scored 7-2 to end the match. It was a disappointing loss for us for sure. Despite the fact that they are a good team, we felt like we were in control of our own destiny, but couldn't come up with the plays in that last part of the 5th game.

Some of our statistical highlights were: Stud and MJ with 18 kills each, Julia with 45 assists, Caitlin with 41 digs, and Piper with 3 blocks.

To top off our night, we were too late to eat at Whole Foods, so we ended up at Subway for dinner. However, the next morning, after sleeping in and having a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, we set off for Dunkin Donuts on our way to the gym. I'm enjoying my ice coffee almost as much as the team is these days, especially with the humidity down there! We arrived in time to watch some of Brandeis and Coast Guard play, which is always nice when you haven't seen someone play, and don't know much about them but their stats.

Olivia set the first two games against Brandeis, and did a fabulous job in her debut setting this year. I think Courtney made her feel at ease by tossing her a bucket or so of balls ahead of time and easing the "nerves" a bit, but she looked calm and cool in action! Everyone got into the game in this match, and even though a couple of the games were close, we were pretty much in control as we cruised to a 3-0 victory. MJ had 8 kills, 6 blocks, 1 service ace, and 14 digs for her line of stats. Caitlin once again led the defense with 20 digs, and also added 6 service aces. Meg and Lizzy both played well in the back row, and all three middles played solidly. Both Amy and Piper saw some action on the right side, and Nicki served well for Elissa in game three.

Once we finished, the team hit the showers, and Brian and I went to watch the rest of Amherst vs. Coast Guard. Amherst had lost the first two games, but had just come back to win the 4th when we left to go get dinner and head home. We love several of the eating establishments there in Amherst, so we typically spread out and hit our favorites, and then bring them on the bus to eat while we watch a movie on the way home. "The Devil Wears Prada" won out for the return trip, and then a sit-com I'd never heard of before (which, I imagine will continue to happen more and more the older I get?!)

All in all, it was a very good weekend. We did a lot of very nice things, which is great to see. We will continue to work on the things that we want to improve, and the things that we think we do well, and try to each improve enough individually to bring the overall level of the team up a bit each week! In addition, we keep playing different combinations slightly, and when it gels, it's really fun to watch. We are deep, despite our injuries, and many people are contributing, which is really great to see.

We have our only real Home Stretch here next week as we play at home on Wednesday night, and again on Friday and Saturday. Both the Wed. and Friday games will be webcast, for those of you that can't make it out here. Friday night is our only Home Conference match this year when we'll play Amherst at 8pm!

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