It took 5 sets, but we beat a very good Bowdoin team again this year! Friday night saw Bowdoin come into our gym ranked in the top 5 in the Region, and getting votes for the top 25 in the country on the AVCA Poll. That didn't mean a thing to us as our only goal was to beat them in our quest toward the Conference Tournament.
The match was basically very close the whole way, except for two lopsided games. One we ran away with 25-14, and one they ran away with 15-25, but other than that, they were all decided by 2-3 points. They took the first set after several tie scores, and as late as 17-17, before Bowdoin went on a four point run that we never recovered from.
Set two was all us. We never trailed, and after going up 8-6 we went on a 10-0 run and never looked back. Sometimes that just happens... Tied 1-1 in games, the third set was a critical one, and it was tight the whole way. Despite the tightness of the score, we actually seemed to be behind a few points most of the set, and were often playing catch-up, which we consistently did. We were tied at 1-1, 7-7, and 10-10. Then, we trailed by a couple of points consistently until we tied it again at 19-19. Our first lead since getting the first point came at 21-20, and we never gave up that lead. They tied it at 23-23 on a service ace, but then gave us back the lead on a service error. Then, they got another kill to even it at 24-24 before Olivia and Becca each had a kill to take the set 26-24!
Unfortunately for us, that game that sometimes just happens, even when teams are well matched, like in the second set that belonged all to us...well, it happened TO us, as pretty much everything they did worked, and we couldn't get a single thing to go our way in the 4th set. Their big hitter got hot, and we made errors, and well, it wasn't all that pretty as they won 25-15, leading us to a 5th set for the first time this season.
They kept some of their momentum from the 4th set going into the 5th and grabbed an early lead 2-6. We then put together a few strings of points starting with three, then we both got two points in a row, before we went on another four point run to go up 11-9 before a Bowdoin side out. We scored three more points to go up 14-10 but Bowdoin finally put a string of their own together to bring the game to 14-13. Sometimes that last point can be elusive, so we'll need to work on that, but Alice pounded a ball into their block and it went out for the win. Big win!
Becca led three of our hitter in double digit kills with 14, followed by Olivia with 12, and Alice with 11.We had 15 Block Assists with Piper having 5, and Melanie getting three to go along with her two Solo Blocks. Hannah continues to lead the Conference with over 10 assists per set and stayed right on track as she had 45 assists in this 5 set match. Olivia and Katie each had 3 service aces, and Lizzy led all players with 24 digs! We even had a pretty good fan base for it being Fall Break as I think the football team was still on campus before leaving in the morning for their Williams game. Members of the D8 sang the National Anthem to get things started, and the crowd was loud and great!
The next day we faced Colby. We knew they had a good win over Conn under their belts despite losing to Hamilton the night before, and we knew they would be a different challenge for us than Bowdoin. Their offense is very middle hitter driven, and we felt like we could control that with our blocking and defense, as long as we could get our offense going to keep them from doing whatever they wanted. As Brian likes to say, "sometimes the best defense is a good offense."
Well, the first set, everything went our way en route to a 25-12 win. We knew they'd come out with more in the next set, which they did, but we ran away with the sweep with 25-21, and 25-20 set scores. The second set was a set of strings for both teams, and went back and forth to be tied 21-21 before we scored the final string of points to win 25-21 on two kills from Becca and one from Piper to seal the deal. The final set was mostly us, but then as we approached the end, they made a final push before Melanie pounded a quick attack to the floor "with authority" (as my mom would have said!) to end the match, and secure our NESCAC sweep of the Maine teams!
Piper again led the blocking with 3 BA, and Becca again led our offense with 14 kills and a .424 hitting %. Piper had a stellar hitting % of .750 will 6 kills on 8 swings from the middle, while Melanie also hit very well with 5 kills and 1 error on 9 swings. Our team hitting % was .308 for the match, which was great to see.
We're now on Fall Break with no classes on Monday and Tuesday, so hopefully we'll get some good rest, catch up on work, and enjoy some fun Fall activities over the weekend since it's absolutely gorgeous right now up here in New England Paradise!