Monday, September 30, 2013

Busy Week a Success for Panthers

We had a very busy week with home matches on Tuesday and Thursday, and a Tri-match at Hamilton on Saturday.  First we played a tough Colby-Sawyer team on Tuesday, and came away with a 3-1 win which saw MJ come alive with 17 kills, and 9, 8, and 6 respectively from Amy, Piper, and Olivia.  Kathryn led the team in digs, followed by Lauren, and Melanie continued her dominance at the net leading the team in blocks with 3 solos and 4 block assists.

We had a couple of our biggest fans there to cheer us on, and they're pictured here with the team.  Lizzy and Kathryn work with these local athletes with Special Olympics, and they're donning our old jerseys to show their support for our team!  You guys look great!!

The next match was a bit lopsided, as Southern Vermont is in a rebuilding stage this year with only one new freshman on a team that graduated some powerhouse hitters from their NCAA team last year.  We out-sized them by quite a bit, and everyone saw some good action Thursday night in Pepin Gym.  Meg led the team offensively with 7 kills and no errors, while 9 other players had at least 3 kills each.  Lizzy led the team defensively with 11 digs, followed by 9 by Hannah, who set 2 of the games.

On Saturday, we traveled to Hamilton for our Conference match with our travel partner Hamilton, and picked up an extra match with Union while we were over there, which was great.  Hamilton is a young team who just dug everything we seemed to hit at them.  They are big, and blocked well, but in the end, we were the much more consistent team.  We only ended up with 8 more kills than they did, but we had more digs, blocks and aces, and just did what we needed to do to finish out each set.  It wasn't a run away, however, as the first set was tied at 15-15 before we finished out the set with 2 blocks, 3 kills, and a couple of attacking errors by them for a final score of 25-17.

We mostly dominated the 2nd set to take it 25-16, and had a solid lead most of the 3rd set leading by as many as 7 or 8 early on.  They closed to within 4 at 19-15, but they actually ended that set with several errors on top of a couple of kills by us to win the final set of the match 25-17.

Union proved to be our biggest competition so far this season (other than our scrimmage with St. Mikes) as we traded points much of the first set before pulling ahead late to take the first set 25-19.  In the second set, we only had the lead twice by one point each time at 4-3, and again at 13-12 until we would come back to tie it at 24-24.  We went down set point twice before we would take the lead for the last time at 26-25, and finished to take a 2-0 lead in sets.  The third set was more of the same, being down early, and tying it up only twice at 7-7, and 16-16, but we couldn't pull it out that time, and lost that set 22-25.  The final set was another back and forth one, although this time it was us who would go ahead each time before they tied it up. We pulled ahead 18-13, but they fought back to pull within 2 at 23-21.  We then finished out the match with kills by Olivia and MJ with a stuff block by them in between for a final set score of 25-22.

We are back in action at Plattsburgh on Tuesday night, and then down at Wesleyan and Trinity over the weekend.  We are hoping to stay healthy now that the bug has seeped through most of the team, and campus by now!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

MIDD Wins NESCAC and Home Opener vs. Colby

Our home opener this year was also our NESCAC opener, and it was nice to be home.  We had a good crowd for a Saturday afternoon.  Most of our other Fall Teams were up at Bowdoin, but I think Rugby was home, and it was a very nice Fall afternoon, so we were happy to have the crowd to cheer us on--thank you Fans!

We didn't feel like we were as sharp as we'd like to be to open Conference play, but we did what we needed to do to sweep a feisty Colby team that just seemed to dig everything.  We had long rallies, and some great back and forth, but we managed to come away with a three set sweep.  Our blocking was a little better than the stats indicated, I thought, but Colby covered their hitters well, and actually kept several blocked balls in play, so I felt OK about our blocking overall.   

Amy Hart was our undeniable offensive leader with a whopping 17 kills and only 1 error to hit .485 for a fabulous day.  Olivia was next in offensive prowess with 9 kills, while MJ, Piper and Melanie all had 4 kills apiece.  Melanie hit .800 with 4 kills and no errors on 5 swings, so I'd say that's a great start for the freshman in her home debut!

Kathryn continued her dominance dishing out the ball with 30 assists on the day, and Lauren paced the defense with 14 digs, followed closely by Amy with 13, and Hannah with 11.  Katie and MJ each had a couple of serving runs which either brought us back into the game from a deficit, or launched us ahead at key moments, so that was good to see.

Colby proved to be a tough, gritty opponent and gave us quite a bit to handle, despite the three set sweep as the individual sets were mostly closer than the score indicated.  We came up with plays when we needed them, and also had some streaks to finish out the sets strong, which was also good to see this early in the season.

We play at home two more times this coming week, on Tuesday against Colby-Sawyer, and again on Thursday against So. VT before heading to Hamilton next weekend for our second Conference Weekend. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alternative Workouts

 Occasionally we do "alternative workouts" which normally means going in the pool on a Monday after a long weekend.  Sometimes it could mean a team hike, or stadium runs, but mostly it means a pool practice.  We have a few traditions we do when we get in the pool in addition to our workout, and I have a couple of pictures to share.  The first is our "Martha Washington" hairdos!  I can't remember what class started this, but we still enjoy doing it!  Then we have some calisthenics in the water, and our "whirlpool", which is always fun.  Good times!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Opening Weekend a Success at J&W Tournament

Opening Weekend...with our whole team...nice.  Unfortunately, we had to leave very early in the day, so several people missed classes on Friday, but overall this year our schedule is great, so at least it won't happen that often.  We loaded up the bus, headed south to Rhode Island, and started our season on the road.  Despite having never been to Johnson and Wales, some things about our trip seemed very familiar, including a stop at Panera to pick up our lunch on Friday, and of course, a stop at Dunkin' Donuts on Saturday morning!

In all, we played four matches:  against J&W on Friday night, and then against UNE, Wheaton, and Mt. Ida all on Saturday.  It was a clean sweep for the Panthers, not dropping a set all weekend.  As a team, we hit .316, which was great.  The full stats will be on the web, but here are some highlights:

Amy had 9 kills hitting .304 in the opener against J&W
MJ had 9 kills, 6 aces, 5 assists, and 5 digs against UNE
Meg served 18 points IN A ROW against Mt. Ida, sprinkling 5 aces in that streak.
Piper hit .727 against J&W with 8 kills, no errors on 11 swings
Olivia had 8 kills, hitting .467 against Wheaton
Lizzy had 9 kills, and 6 aces hitting .389 against Mt. Ida
Lauren had 15 digs against UNE
Katie had 10 digs and 2 aces against Mt. Ida
Kathryn averaged close to 10 assists per set all weekend
Melanie had 8 kills on 9 attempts against Wheaton
Charlotte had 1 kill, 2 assists, 2 digs and 2 Blocks in her college debut
Gabi had 7 kills on 9 attempts for a .778 hitting % in her college debut
Hannah had 15 assists and 5 digs in two sets as the 5-1 setter against Mt. Ida

Playing 3 matches on Saturday was a bit tough, and we won't have that situation again all season, thank goodness.  The team took advantage of our "match off" to eat and refuel, sleep, and study, as you can see below.

It was a great team weekend with everyone contributing significant minutes.  After competing against each other in practice for almost two weeks, it was great to have other opponents that we didn't know anything about.  We have never had such a long pre-season before, at least so it seemed.  It's always nice to play different teams, and J&W couldn't have been nicer hosts for a great volleyball tournament experience.  MJ was named to the All-Tournament team for her efforts, so congrats MJ!

We had several parents on hand, which was also great!  Lauren's dad made it out for Friday night and even came armed with a whole big box of delicious cupcakes for Lauren's birthday!!  Katie's parents put out a huge lunch spread for us on Saturday, which was healthy and wonderful.  Meg's parents, MJ's parents, Katie's parents and brother, and Lauren's dad were all on hand, and I think several others were tweeting (yes, we have a Twitter now @middvball) during the matches. 

Now, we have all week to recoup, and get back to work in practice on our skills before we face off with our first NESCAC opponent, Colby, on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 21 for our Home Opener! 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Cast of Characters for MCVB 2013

The night of our BBQ, Paul took some great shots of almost everyone. (Thank you so much, Paul, these are great!) I think we have everyone in here now! 

 Meg, MJ, and Katie

Olivia, then Piper, then Lizzy (the juniors)

 The CA sophomores:  Kathryn and Lauren
Now, here our freshmen:  Gabi, then Hannah. 

 And, then Melanie and Charlotte.

In addition to the Team, we had several parents, my family, Steve (our Faculty Affiliate) and his wife Sharon, and Brian (Asst. Coach) with his wife Sylvie, and daughters Shea and Rowan, so here goes:  a toast by John Hart, then Hannah's mom, Andy.

 Charlotte's dad (Mike), with Lizzy's parents below (Amy and Dave)

 Angela Jarchow and Gabi's mom, Jennifer

Piper's mom, Melanie, Richard (Katie's dad), then my daughter Lois and I.

Piper's parents, Charlie and Melanie:

My husband, Rob--grill master, and super-dad, especially during the volleyball season...

Lois and I, then Melanie's dad, David, and Steve (Faculty Affiliate)

Steve and his wife, Sharon, with Meg's mom (Ann) in the background, and Melanie's mom (Tricia) to the right.  Again, no pictures of Paul, (Meg's dad), who was behind the camera, but we'll get a photo of him soon.  It was a very fun evening, and it's been great to work together during pre-season in our "professional athlete mode" of operation.  Now, real college life begins with classes, homework, and other "distractions" and activities.  In reality, that just means more training for real life by having to balance everything and keep sane!! 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

MCVB 2013 Unites!

We kicked off our new year the same as we have for many years now--with a BBQ at my house.  It's always so fun to see everyone again, and have the new freshmen with us also.  The seniors were all abroad in the Spring, so it had been a long time since we'd seen them, too.

It was a gorgeous evening for our cookout, and many parents were able to join us, along with Steve (our Faculty Affiliate) and his wife Sharron, and Brian and his wife Sylvie, and daughters Shea and Rowan.  Lois felt like she was reuniting with old friends as well since she got to travel with us a couple of times last year.  Max was being shy, and was hiding and "shooting" people with his Nerf gun while asking me to introduce him as "Captain Balgi."  I have no idea what that means.  And Lydia enjoyed seeing everyone, was trying to get the names straight, and always enjoys playing with Shea and Rowan.

Thank you to the parents and Sylvie who both brought beautiful flower arrangements.  They smell and look so nice!  Also, thanks to my husband, Rob, who was our grill master.   

Everyone survived the fitness test the next day, and I thought for the most part, everyone came back in very good shape, so it was a great beginning to our season.  We have a new trainer, Judd, who is GREAT.  We were sad to lose Rachel, but Judd is fast becoming a total stud in every one's eyes, so THANK YOU, JUDD!!  He's got us doing band workouts to strengthen our shoulders, continuing the leg band routine to prevent ACL tears, and has also given us new ankle stability exercises.  All that in addition to taking care of the "normal" aches and pains.

We're utilizing our pre-game room this year for film, scouts, and ice baths.  It's a real multi-purpose room this year due to the massive construction project going on here for the new Field House.  We are all making due with less rooms for classroom activities like meetings and film, constant jack-hammering, and other various pleasantries that go along with multi-million dollar renovations!  It will all be worth it when the new Field House opens next Fall!!

AND, we've already had a birthday--Charlotte, who just turned 18!  Happy Birthday!!  Nothing like having your birthday on the first day of college volleyball practice.  Two cakes later (or maybe more?), and a dinner out at Sabai Sabai, it had to have been a pretty good day, even though we had two practices?!

The parents seem to be getting started on a good note together also, which is always fun!  Some parents got together after the BBQ at the local wine bar down town and continued to get acquainted and catch up.  GO MCVB Parents!  :)

We have opted out of playing this first weekend since our freshmen will all be away on Orientation Trips in various fun locations around VT.  We'll miss them, but can't wait to hear about their adventures when they get back.