It was a gorgeous Fall weekend in Maine, even for an indoor sport. Unfortunately, Brian had to miss this trip because his brother was getting married in California. He was very anxiously checking his phone (good timing getting a cell phone, which he's only had for a month or two!) for scores and updates, and I think he even watched some of the webcasts! Now, that's dedication! In his absence, I enlisted the help of a former MIDD standout, and leader to be my assistant for the weekend. Lauren Barrett made her return to the MIDD bench, but unlike her entire time at MIDD, she never left the bench. It's much different from the sidelines, but Lauren was a fabulous addition to our staff, and was great in her new role as a coach.
Friday evening we took on the Camels from CONN, who were back to full strength with the return of their top hitter and NESCAC kill leader, Amy Newman. We were excited to play them, and we knew it would be a different match this time around with her, but we were ready! We blocked really well, and our goal was to minimize the impact of Newman, which we did. We won in three straight, and in somewhat commanding fashion, although at that point in the season, every win is hard fought.
The next day we faced Tufts in the semi's. We walked around town to get lunch, and enjoyed the sunshine and warm Fall weather before heading to the gym. After a very disappointing loss to them earlier in the season, we were ready to prove to ourselves that we were better than that. It was a great match all around. Every game was very close, and we needed extra points in two sets to pull out the four set victory. We were down 21-19, and 24-23 before pulling out the 26-24 victory in the 4th, and a return to the Championship game!
Sunday, we made our routine stop at Dunkin Donuts, and got to the gym early enough to walk around campus and stretch our legs, as usual. We were playing the host polar bears, who had had a tough fight with Trinity the night before, but were victorious in 4 sets. Having lost in 5 to them earlier in the season, we knew we not only could play with them, but felt that we could definitely beat them if we played the way we had been playing. I thought we matched up pretty well with them, and thought we could be in for a back and forth fight to the finish. Well, we came out a bit flat, and they came out on fire, and that was not a great combination for us. They got their middles going early, and right in rhythm, and we felt a half step slow on several counts. Needless to say, we lost in three straight, and although the games were all relatively close, we really weren't ever in control of any part of the match.
It was a very disappointing way to end the season, especially after having played so well the previous two days. We arrived home with some uncertainty about whether or not our season was over or not. We would be considered for an at-large bid for the NCAA's, but I was very unsure if we would get it or not.
Monday late morning when the selection show was underway, we received our good news that we were IN! Not only that, but it appeared that we had been moved to the NY Regional, and had the #2 seed, which was very unexpected. We headed over to Clarkson after practice Thursday night in preparation to play Colby-Sawyer on Friday afternoon at 3:00 pm.