Tuesday, September 29, 2015

MIDD Sweeps Long Weekend in NY State

It wasn't meant to be a long weekend, really.  We had our NESCAC travel partner (Hamilton) on Friday night at 8pm.  Then we were to travel to Skidmore on Saturday morning to play two matches that afternoon, so it was a three match weekend, but we had a tough time getting over to Hamilton on Friday night, which lengthened our weekend (or shortened our sleep, more realistically).

We always arrive places very early, and by design.  Better safe than sorry, and it's always good to get somewhere and then have time to walk around and stretch your legs is what I'm always thinking.  Well, everything was going smoothly until we picked up our pre-game (pre-ordered) food at Panera outside of Saratoga Springs, NY.  They didn't quite have our food ready, so we had to wait about 15-20 minutes instead of just going in and picking it up.  And, when we got back on the bus, I told them that things like that are why we always try to leave extra wiggle room when traveling.  About 10 minutes later, we were sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on the interstate, and I had no idea why, or what this would mean for our ETA. 

Long story short, we didn't arrive until 8:45, and we started the match at 9:30 pm.  Unfortunately, we learned later that there had very sadly been a fatal accident on the interstate, and it had to be shut down, and thus, the extreme congestion.

No excuses--it's still game time!  We got off to a somewhat rocky start, and lost the first set 21-25 behind some inconsistent play.  The next set we were in more control, and played more like the team we've been seeing in practice, and had our way at the net, hitting .562 for the set to tie the match.  The third set was tighter, but again a .500 hitting % put us over the top to take a 2-1 lead.  The final set belonged to us, for the most part, and although we didn't hit the % we had in the previous two sets, we still hit well, and for the match we really started digging the ball, which was great to see.  We hit our best % for the season, but we also played very scrappy defense, and notched more digs than previously, so that's a good point from which to move forward.

Lizzy's parents were troopers!!  They stayed for the whole match, AND brought cookies and chocolate covered strawberries.  YUM!  THANK YOU both so much for all of the continued support, even after four years of "team dad," you're still supporting us, and Lizzy couldn't even make the trip because of her role planning and running the United Way's Days of Caring!  By all accounts, that was a huge success, so good job, Lizzy!  (The Reeds may have confessed that just watching the team without a daughter on the court was somewhat less stressful...)    

The other thing that led to our long weekend happened after the match ended.  We had to send our bus driver back to the hotel before the match because we didn't know what time we'd finish, and he has to have a certain amount of time off before he can drive again the next day.  So, with all of our extra time on the bus, I scheduled taxi's to come and get us about 11:15 or so.  Well, they didn't show up until almost midnight, and after we packed ourselves into two minivans, we finally arrived at our hotel a little before 12:30 am.  Breakfast at 8!  :)

The next day we arrived as we usually do two plus hours before we were due to play, so we were back on our normal schedule.  We had our hands full with a very scrappy Ramapo team.  They took the first set, and then we pulled out two very close sets, one in extra points (25-23, 26-24) by showing very good composure and mental toughness in tight spots to go ahead 2-1.  Then, the wheels fell off.  It was almost funny how bad we were...almost.  Actually, it wasn't funny at all, but what can you do?  They served us right off the court and won without much of a contest 25-12.  Yikes!  We rebounded well, and we battled through a very tight, back and forth final set for the 15-12 win.

Our day was not quite over yet, though.  We still had to play Sage.  They took a pretty close first set, which was more on our errors then on their positive swings, so we promptly regrouped, and cruised to take the next three straight sets which saw different people contribute in new ways.  Sarah and Gabi both played a little RH, along with Eliana; Claire played all over the back row, and both Jen and Rose played defense right back.  Emily and Charlotte continue to be our libero tandem, and Hannah keeps dishing out an almost league-leading 10+ assists per set.  Becca and Isabel are both in the top 10 in Kills in the league, and Mel is leading the league in hitting % and tied for top honors in blocks.  We don't like to dwell on stats, but they can be a very useful tool, and it's always nice to be recognized, especially in a very tough Conference such as NESCAC.  Alice is still out nursing that ankle, but we're hoping to get her back for the next NESCAC weekend in CT!

For her efforts over the week, Becca was named the NESCAC player of the week!  Congrats to her, and the team for going 4-0 on the week.  I'm most proud, however, of the resilience they showed over the weekend with our situation, and not letting it get to them.  They stayed strong, and just focused on what we can control, and for that, I'm very proud of them.  That mental toughness is what we need to see continue to take us where we want to go...Onward!

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