Tuesday, November 26, 2013

More Honors for Amy and MJ

The NEWVA (New England Women's Volleyball Association) has come out with their post-season awards as voted on by the coaches in the New England Region.  Both MJ and Amy were invited to participate in the Senior Classic, which is a skills/competition day/all-star game combined with the coaches annual meeting for NEWVA.  It honors the top 26 seniors in the Region.  In addition, both were named to the NEWVA All-Region Teams, MJ to the 1st Team and Amy to the 2nd Team.  Congratulations to both of these seniors as these are very nice honors to cap off wonderful careers.  Well done, guys!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Seniors All Honored by NESCAC, Amy by AVCA also!

All three seniors were honored this week when the NESCAC posted their awards.  MJ was honored as 1st Team All-NESCAC for the third straight year after being named the Rookie of the Year her freshman year.  Amy was honored for the second straight year as 2nd Team All-NESCAC, and Meg was honored by representing
Middlebury on the NESCAC All-Sportsmanship Team.  Congratulations Seniors!!!

In addition, the AVCA came out with their All-Region Awards, and Amy Hart was selected on the Honorable Mention All-Region for the New England Region by the coaches association, so congratulations Amy!! Well done!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Season Ends at NESCAC's

A return to the Championship match didn't seem to be our fate this year, and this would be the first time our senior class wasn't part of that match.  We came out strongly in the first set against Amherst, and asserted our dominance early on jumping out to an 8-2 lead, and leading for most of the first set.  Amherst made a run, however, and tied it up at 17-17, and took their first lead of the set right after, going up 17-19.  We took the lead for the final time at 21-20, and never let it go to finish 25-21.

The second set was a nail biter as both teams slugged it out to a 27-29 finish, but not in our favor.  There would be 16 tie scores in this set, with MIDD having the opportunity for set point 4 times, and Amherst only having set point once, but that was all it took for Amherst to steal the set from within our grasp.  We kept making good plays to go up set point, and often made errors to tie the game back up.  Finally, Amherst finished it off with an error by us, followed by a kill from their OH.

No problem, that tied the match at 1-1.  The third set was another tightly contested set as we took an early lead 8-4, but they fought back to tie it at 12-12, and at 14's.  They then got 4 points in a row, interrupted by a blocking error by Amherst trying to stop MJ.  After two errors by our hitters, we called a timeout, and scored three straight out of the timeout to close the score to 18-20.  At 20-22, we looked to be making a comeback until the error bug hit us, and we fizzled out the set on two attacking errors, and a receiving error to go down 1-2 in the match.  That was a tough blow.  After not pulling out the second set, and then not winning the 3rd, despite hitting our best % for the evening at .308, it seemed that we just were a little deflated, and didn't quite have the fight we'd hoped to have to force a 5th set.

The only tie score in the final set was at 2-2, but after that we were playing catch up the rest of the way.  We managed to get down 9-19, unfortunately, before we made a final push to fight back to 16-20, but couldn't overcome the deficit, and ended the set, match and season on an 18-25 score. 

Amherst played well.  We held their OH1 to 14 kills, but the OH2, who had previously not been a major factor came through in a big way, also scoring 14 kills on half as many sets as their OH1.  We seemed to try to ride our seniors into the semi-finals almost single-handedly.    In our previous win over Amherst, our MH's and Olivia combined for 21 kills compared to only 13 this time.

We fought valiantly, however, with both MJ and Amy coming in with match-high 24 kills apiece.  Hannah had a match-high 55 assists, and Lizzy had a match high 23 digs, but we couldn't quite put enough pieces together to fashion the win. 

Meg came in and aided our serve receive late in the match, and Olivia and Melanie each had 3 block assists in the effort.  We did register 10 more kills than Amherst, but also 15 more errors.  They out-blocked us by only 2, although it felt worse than that, and we only had one more receiving error, and one more serving error than they did.  I think a key moment came in the second set when we couldn't convert on any of the 4 set point opportunities.  At this point in the season, you have to get it done when it counts because you have very limited opportunities.   All in all, it was a very close match, and a very competitive one, so we can all feel good about that, well, at least now maybe, after a couple of days to let the dust settle?! 

We did, however, still manage to eat well on the ride home!  It turned out that none of the team, even the seniors had EVER played at Williams before.  Funny how our schedule works out sometimes.  So, we arrived early enough to actually eat a sit-down dinner in Williamstown before watching some of the early matches that night.  Then, Lisa Barrett turned up with another Goodie-Bag including the famous caramelitas and Paradise Cookies, and Katie's parents brought us a bag full of goodies, along with cookies from somewhere else--maybe Lizzy's dad?  We do like our food, and we never seem to be in short supply, which is fantastic!  I think we may have been eating our sadness out on the way home while we watched Love Actually for about the hundredth time, it seemed.

You know, it doesn't matter how long you do this, losing that last match is NEVER easy.  It's so sad to see it all end with a particular group, but the good news for those of us returning is that we have a lot to build on for next year!  And, we'll miss our seniors very much, but will carry on next year without them, knowing that they'll be watching us from near and far, along with our previous alums who still keep track of us.  We should hear about our ED recruits in another few weeks, and that will be exciting to start thinking about also.

It should be an eventful off-season with Piper's surgery coming up, Lizzy has a fun excursion planned for J-term, and Crew will be starting for Lizzy and Olivia before too long.  I'll start the Leadership Training with the sophomore class over J-term, and we'll meet to go over some of our other power-point presentations we need to cover still with the team.  Our strength coach will be starting our new off-season workouts with the team at some point this winter, and we'll hopefully get together to do some other fun out-of-season activities like skiing and snow-shoeing, etc.  We'll keep you posted here!

GREAT JOB, Team!! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

MIDD Sweeps Maine Teams in Pepin Finale!

It was a big weekend for MCVB, and our seniors playing in their final home games in Pepin.  We took on Bowdoin on Friday night, who was coming in with a 7-1 Conference Record, and we rocked the house, well, except for the first set.  We came out a little slow, and maybe a little tight expressed by a few overpasses, and we trailed the entire first set, and lost 17-25.  The second set was the reverse of the first, with us never trailing.  We were always up by at least 1, and often 3 or 4, and we closed out the set 25-18.

The third set was a battle!  It was back and forth and either tied, or one team up by 1 or 2 points until we took a 4 point lead 18-14, and even went up by 6, 21-15 before Bowdoin came charging back to tie it at 23-23.  A kill by each MJ and Amy ended that set in our favor, 25-23.  After that, I think we took the wind out of their sails as we pretty much dominated the fourth set.  It was tied early at 4-4, but after getting up 12-7, they would fight to within 1 at 13-12 on a 5-1 run, but would get no closer than that.  We pulled away with an 8-0 run to put the game out of reach at 21-12, and we closed out the upset 25-17 in the 4th.

It was a big win for us, and a great one to get at home.  We were in our slump during the meat of our Conference matches, so to beat two of the top 3 teams in the last two weeks of the regular season (Amherst at the HOF, and Bowdoin this weekend) was a boost for us.  We feel like we're playing well, and we just want to keep improving every day.

The next day, we celebrated Senior Day.  The first set was a run away, but after that, it was another battle.  In the second set we trailed from the first point until we finally tied it at 18-18, and 19-19 before we took our first lead at 20-19, and never looked back to pull away for the 25-21 win.  Bates came out in the 3rd set and traded points with us for most of the third set having 12 different ties before losing that set 23-25.  We would then close out the match after a competitive 4th set.  What was funny was that we got up 24-14 and it looked like we were trying to get one of the seniors to win the match, so we kept setting Amy, who was getting some good hits, but Bates just kept digging the ball (except for the one that looked like it HAD to have gone off of a Bates blocker, but they said it just hit the net and went out?!).  Anyway, they rattled off 5 straight points before hitting one out to give us the win!

The seniors' moms put together a great spread for us after the match for our senior celebration, which was really nice.  They set up a table with tons of cupcakes, pictures, balloons, flowers, sparkling cider and the whole thing was very festive!  Amy's dad gave a toast, and then we ate, which we love to do!  It was very simple, but very nice.  Thank you to the mom's (Margaret, Ann, and Angela) for putting it together!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Halloween!!

What a fun Holiday, which tends to bring out the kid in all of us!  Here is a picture of the team before practice today.  It was a rainy day, but a fun one nonetheless.  Gotta love the spirit!

The "Blue Man Group" was our Field Hockey Coaches, and they rocked it!  And, Melanie wore a beautiful dress that she actually made with help from her grandmother for a Renaissance Celebration at home.  Very impressive.  And, finally, my kids made the jack o' lanterns at home.  Happy Halloween!!