It was a successful weekend for MCVB down at the Ocean-side campus of Endicott College. After we wound our big bus through the small, residential streets of Beverly, MA, we finally made it to the campus in plenty of time to prepare. I think we were the first team to arrive, including Endicott themselves, however, I think we may have been the only team playing that weekend that hadn't already started classes!
We came out of the gates ready to go and really gave U Mass Boston quite a run for their money in the first two games. Unfortunately, we gave up early leads (and large ones) in both of the first two games before falling badly in the 3rd and losing our first real match of the season 0-3. The good news was that we had a balanced attack, and had contributions from a lot of people. Our juniors led the scoring attack with 9 kills, 7 kills, and 5 kills respectively from MJ, Amy, and Meg. Meg also hit a team high .309, and added 2 service aces, while Caitlin led the team with 22 digs, and Julia dished out 25 assists and 12 digs. We jumped out to a 12-5 lead early in the first, but they ended up tying it up at 15's before we traded points for a while. We were still up 22-20, and 23-22, but they closed out the first set with three straight unanswered points.
The second set was exactly the same as we again jumped out to an 8-2 lead before getting tied up at 14-14. We led at 19-15, and tied it up at 20 before getting down 20-23 and then staging a comeback of our own. We tied it at 23, had a game point, but didn't convert, and then lost two quick points to lose that game. We are hoping to take what we learned in that game forward with us so that hopefully it won't happen like that again! We lost the 3rd set as U Mass got their fast offense connecting more, and we'd lost some of our umph, I'm afraid, which you just can't do against a team like UMass.
In the next match against Endicott, we struggled to get much offense going in the first two sets, and after being up game points, and down game points, we ended up losing the first set 24-26. The second was very tight back and forth again, but we could't pull that out either, and got down 0-2. We had a long 5 game match last year also, so we were hoping for the long evening once we'd gotten behind by two sets. We fought back and moved people around and came up with a nice comeback win to take the match in the 5th set. You never want to go down 0-2, but it's also nice to have the experience of getting down, and coming all the way back to win a match like that, so that was fun. Olivia saw action for the first time, and had the game winning point with a solo stuff block that sent the ball straight back into the ground for a decisive match point with style, so that was fun! Amy lit the house on fire with 18 kills, while Maddie had 11 kills, and 5 blocks! Our steady eddy senior duo of Julia and Caitlin again led the team with 57 assists, and 27 digs respectively. Well done, guys.
The next day saw more lineup switching as we swapped Meg and Stud front row and back row, and both played their roles very well! We have depth on our team this year like we haven't had maybe ever in the OH position especially, which should give us quite a bit of flexibility with lineup options. We beat Plymouth handily in the first two games, then lost a close one as we may have gotten a tad complacent (?), but we came back in the 4th to win decisively again. We were serving very well, and their receive struggled with that. Amy again paced the team with 16 kills, 5 assists, and 5 aces, while MJ had 10 kills. Julia had 19 digs and 41 assists, Piper came up with 7 blocks, and Caitlin had 13 digs. We'll see them again later in Oct. on our home court in Pepin.
The Tournament ended with us playing an out of Region team in Susquehanna University. We'd watched them play Williams, and we felt that we had a good game plan going into the match. Williams had been successful tipping against their defense, so we tried to get our hitters to do that, somewhat reluctantly. On the sideline, we could all plainly see that even if you didn't tip all that well, you could still get balls to go down in the middle of the court, but we kept trying to pound our way through their block anyway. We pulled out a close one in the first, 26-24, and then held leads most of the way in the next two to win 25-18, and 25-20 to close out our first weekend at 3-1. Amy was honored for her efforts on the weekend by being named to the All-Tournament Team, so congrats to Amy and the whole team for a great season opening weekend.
We missed our freshmen, who stayed at home to register for classes and finish up with Freshmen Orientation, so we're looking forward to having them back with us for good now that classes start tomorrow! We're back in action on Tuesday night at home in Pepin for our Home Opener!