Thursday, October 18, 2018

MIDD Splits Big Weekend at Home

We hosted Tufts last Friday night, and Bowdoin on Saturday for a key NESCAC weekend against two tough teams.  It was great to be home again after being on the road for 5 straight matches over two and half weeks, and it was a picture perfect Fall Weekend, so that was a fun way to start. 

We came out on fire against a good Tufts team and dominated the first two sets 25-15, and 25-16 respectively.  We were passing well, and running our offense and able to keep them out of system for the most part.  They rebounded, as all good teams do and took a closely contested 3rd set 20-25.  Their offense got going a little and they started to pass the ball better, but the great news for us was that we met the challenge and upped our game again to take the fourth set 25-20.  It was a big win for us, as Tufts is always a good team and a Conference contender.  We hit .346 for the match, which could be a season high for us.  We had three hitters with double digit kills, Shea had a match high 3 service aces, and Gigi had a match high 17 digs. 

The next day we faced Bowdoin who was at that point unbeaten in Conference, and we felt ripe for the upset.  We dug ourselves in a hole early by going down 2-8 right out of the gate, but we fought back into it to tie it 14-14.  The rest of the set was very tight with neither team able to get more than a couple points ahead.  Tied 22-22, they scored the final three points to take the first set.  The second set we got out to an early lead and never looked back.  They crept closer a couple of times to get within 3 points, but then we'd pull away again and finished taking the set 25-16 to tie the match at 1-1. 

The third set was the most competitive of the match with several lead changes and after our initial surge to go up 7-2, no one able to get more than a 2 point lead the rest of the way until we went up 24-21 and finished 25-23 to take a 2-1 set lead into the 4th set.  They jumped out on us 5-1, and although we got to within 3 at 10-7, they put together another surge to take a commanding 17-9 lead and finished the set with a 7-2 run to force a 5th and deciding set.  There was a rather large momentum swing at that point that we couldn't quite shake.  Although we were competitive, they were scoring points in groups, and we were just siding out, but not really scoring points in a row such that we were always trailing by a few points.  We'd get back to within 2 and then they'd score another pair/trio of points and that last set is too short to withstand much of that.  They blocked us well, and with an 18-1 record on the season, they've been doing this to people all season. 

Statistically, it was a very even match, as it was Friday night.  Against Tufts, it was us who made way fewer errors, and against Bowdoin, the main stat that hurt us was their blocks, where they held a 14-5 advantage.  It was frustrating because we felt like we were playing very well at times, but at this point in the season, we know to beat the best teams, you have to put it all together.

We have another tough weekend coming in Boston where we play three of the top NEWMAC teams who are all ranked above us in the Regional Rankings.  It will be a nice break from Conference action, and a great opportunity to keep improving and raising the level of our game as we head into the final weekend of the Regular season.


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