Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Great Support for Parents' Weekend!


Senior Night is always a fun night.  We only had two home weekends this year, so it was an easy choice to have our "Parents' Weekend" on senior night also.  Our three seniors have given so much to our Program and we're so grateful for their leadership, competitive drive and spirit!  They will be sorely missed next year.

This was not actually their final home match since we had one more mid-week match at home vs Plymouth State, but it's so much better to celebrate senior night with all the families here that we just decided to do it on the weekend!

First up Friday night we had Bowdoin, and we had a battle with them.  The first set was very even with several tied scores, the last of which was 20-20, but they had a final push and won the first set 20-25.  The second set was more of the same, but we went up 22-18 before a late push by them beat us in extra points for a 24-26 score. We forced extra points in the third set to stay alive with a 26-24 win, again with small swings by each team.  In the 4th set we trailed early, but tied it at 12-12 and took the lead momentarily to go up 15-12, but they tied it again at 16-16 before they went on a final push to go up 20-16 and we couldn't get any closer and eventually fell in the 4th set 19-25.  Jane was ON FIRE, and hit .368 for the match and was our kills leader with 16 kills and only 2 errors on 38 swings.  Corley was also super efficient with 6 kills and no errors on 15 swings for a hitting % of .400!

Again, we felt like we competed hard and had moments of greatness, which is all good experiences to grow from and keep improving.  The next day we took on a strong Tufts team with only ONE loss on the season to date and a National ranking of #14 (the highest a NESCAC team has ever been ranked in the National poll!)


This was when we celebrated Senior Night!  All three seniors were pumped and ready to go as we battled with Tufts.  They got going in the first set and their offense was fast and good, and they jumped out to an early lead and took the first set 15-25.  The second set saw us challenge them more and force the action ourselves as we started to not only pass the ball better, but also get our middles involved and Corley caught fire and they couldn't touch her!  We forced extra points in that second set, but couldn't quite close the deal and lost 24-26.  The final set was more of the same and they got up early 3-8 and we never really challenged them again.

BOWDOIN HIGHLIGHT VIDEO

It's good experience to have, as usual, and we will take what we learned from these matches into practice next week and will become better as a result.  We had a wonderful dinner at Flatbread, as has become our tradition.  The team gave the seniors a memory pillow, which was awesome and we all had a fun night of celebrating team and family!!




Tuesday, October 29, 2019

October was full of great competition!

October is our most challenging month of competition.  We played our first Nationally ranked Conference opponent in 24th ranked Wesleyan at home over Homecoming and it was quite a test.  The very next weekend, we traveled to MIT to face three of the top NEWMAC teams, one of whom was also Nationally ranked (Babson #17).  Additionally, we played both MIT and Springfield, both of whom were Regionally ranked just ahead of us.

On our way to Boston, we stopped at a great rest area where our "Cali Girls" took this photo.  I'm told that no one from California actually says "Cali", which is why I put it in here!  :)

The first night we faced MIT, and it was a great match.  After going down 0-2, we fought back and took them to a 5th set!  In the final set we didn't quite pull it out, unfortunately, and lost 10-15.  Our team was wearing orange ribbons in honor of Bella's cousin who was diagnosed with a form of childhood Lukemia.  Very sad, but we're all pulling for him to have a full recovery!!  On hand to see our game in Cambridge was recent alum Becca Raffel '18, along with our faithful parent group, spearheaded by our senior parents of Jerry, Dean and Tracy, and the Neals!

After MIT, we stayed in our best hotel of the season, and then came back ready to WIN on Saturday.  First up was Springfield, and we actually dominated the match, which was great to see.  We swept them in three straight, and Maggie had an impressive outing hitting .464 with13 kills, no errors on 28 swings!  Lucy had 3 kills, no errors on 7 swings and 3 service aces.  As a team we hit .252 and had 8 service aces.

Following Springfield, we played Babson, who had just given Tufts their first loss of the season in a 5 set thriller.  We were very competitive with them, which was our goal.  The set scores were: 21-25-22-25, 25-27.  Although we did not prevail, we felt good about our efforts and continue to ahve the drive to improve and will keep working toward the end of the season and our Conference Championships.

MIT MATCH HIGHLIGHTS (turn on sound!)




Wednesday, October 23, 2019

First HOME NESCAC Weekend was Homecoming!!

October was a very challenging month for us, but that's the way we learn and grow!  During the month we played 3 Nationally ranked teams, and 7 Regionally ranked teams.  We started off with a Conference match with Trinity on Oct. 4, followed by a non-conference, but top 5 regionally ranked opponent, Endicott.

Trinity was an interesting team.  They didn't have a win yet in Conference, but they can hit, so they were very challenging at times.  Our serving proved to be too much for them as their receive struggled and then our offense caught fire, especially Corley!  She hit .733 for the match with 12 kills and only one error on 15 swings.  They really couldn't touch her, which was fun!  Gigi continued her hot streak defensively and lead all players with 23 digs!

The next day we traveled to Endicott, who was ranked 5th in New England and having a great season.  We also stopped for our traditional Dunks fix!  We were excited to play Endicott because, like Clarkson, they would probably end up being a top ranked team in our Region and it's just fun to see where you measure up with other top teams outside of our own Conference.  Although we did not win a set against them, all three sets were very competitive and the last two were 23-25.  It would have been really great to get at least one set, and I think if we had pulled out one of those tight sets, it could have shifted some momentum our way.  We were feeling pretty good about how we were playing and just want to keep focusing on getting better with every game and and every practice opportunity!

SKIDMORE VIDEO HIGHLIGHT LINK (have the sound on!)

Next up we had three HOME matches in a row with Skidmore and then Wesleyan and Conn College over Homecoming weekend.  Skidmore was a great lead-in match for Homecoming weekend as we had our best blocking game to date this year with 10 total blocks.  We also hit .369 as a team, which was our second best hitting game other than St. Mikes.  Everyone got in the game, (except for Laney who was sick), and it was a total team win, which was awesome!  Each person that came off the bench added positively to our outcome, which is exactly what we need to be the team we want to be!  We do most of our work in practice, and we feel like we're a deeper team this year than we've been in the past, and it was great to see that play out in a match also.

The next two matches were opposite extremes of our Conference.  We lost to Wesleyan badly on Friday night, really only competing in the final set (21-25).  It could have been the worst I've ever seen us play in the first two sets.  Only against Clarkson had we not gotten into double digits in points before, and the second set was 8-25.  Fortunately, we battled back to make the 3rd set respectable, and they still had all of their starters in, so it was a minor victory for us at that point.  The highlight of Friday night was seeing recent alums Claire and Isabel at the match!  It was a crazy busy weekend with it being Homecoming and also our first home weekend, so we had a lot of family and friends as well as alums back, so it was a great atmosphere!  Saturday, fortunately was a different story on the court.  We throttled Conn College, who really struggled with receive, bolstered by our 10 service aces!  We also hit .351 for the match, so our offense was just very efficient that Saturday!
 

CONN COLLEGE HIGHLIGHT VIDEO

Following the match, we had our Alumni Event at the Golf Course, which was very nice.  We had a couple of special alums back to help us celebrate 25 Years of MCVB!  Betsy Humphreys McNany ('95) and Julie Moriarty McDonough ('95) were both inaugural members of the Varsity Program, which had it's first year in 1994!  They had been instrumental in forming and running the club team and had advocated for the team to gain Varsity status, which finally happened for their senior year.  These guys were so impressed with our current team and enjoyed watching them, and also re-connecting with the College and our Team/Program!  (Julie actually still had her sweatshirt from that first year, which had "In the beginning..." on the front under the paw print!  Other alums back were Meg Anderson ('14), Katie Fehsenfeld ('06--a basketball alum at MIDD, who came out with her niece who is a current recruit of ours from Indiana--"Fehs" and I had a special bond at the time over being Hoosiers.)



Friday, October 4, 2019

September on the Road...

Wow, time sure flies when you're having fun...and when you're traveling for a month!  We're about to have our October Home weekends, which this year includes both Homecoming and then our Team Parents' Weekend!

However, before we get there, I need to update the first half of the season, spent traveling New England on a big, Premier Bus!  Our first weekend saw us beat two out of Region NY teams in Union and Manhattanville.  We got our money's worth, so to speak, as we went 4 sets with Manhattanville and it took us 5 to beat Union.  That was our opening weekend, and thus we were without our freshmen who were all on their Orientation trips!  After dropping the first two sets to Union, we rallied to come back and win in the 5th set 15-9.  It was great to see the team dig deep and be able to come from behind like that so early in the season.

The following week we had our closest trip of the season, to St. Michael's College just north of Burlington.  That was a pretty quick match, and we got to have takeout from my favorite restaurant--Pho Dang, which is right around the corner from St. Mikes! Although getting dinner there is a highlight for sure, the real highlight of the night was that this was our first match with our Freshmen!  Most of them got their first action of the season and performed well, which was really great to see. Lucy had 4 service aces and Laney hit .500 with 4 kills with only 1 error on 6 attempts along with a service ace.  Kelly ended with 4 assists and 2 digs, and Addie happened to be at the net for most of Lucy's service aces, so the ball barely got back to our side of the net!  Good things to come for these guys!  AND, Kelly's birthday was the next day, so we had to have cupcakes post-practice to celebrate!


That next weekend we went back to NY state to take on a perennial power Clarkson, along with other Liberty League opponents in Potsdam and St. Lawrence.  Clarkson was a tough match, and although we competed in two sets, we lost 0-3. The pace of the game was pretty fast for us at that point in the season, but it was a great experience because we know they'll be a top team in the NY Region and have been very competitive for years now.  Potsdam was not as challenging, ending in a sweep for us, and then St. Lawrence was a battle.  We competed back and forth to a 5 set loss, ending the fifth with a score of 15-12.  Good experience that we took back into practice the next week to continue to get better.

 VIDEO HIGHLIGHT LINK:  Colby-Sawyer (be sure the sound is on because there's fun music with it!)

Our lone HOME match of September was against Colby-Sawyer, which was a great first home match.  We out-powered them and easily swept them in three straight, which was a great lead-in for our first Conference matches coming up that weekend to face Colby and Bates.  Friday night we traveled all the way up to Maine where we battled with Colby but came out with the sweep.  The following day we again battled it out with Bates to a 5 set match that we pulled out after going down 1-2 in sets to win the 4th and 5th sets, with another squeaker in the 5th 15-12, but in our favor this time!  We are still learning and growing and improving, and to the 5 set matches are great experience for our relatively young team who's now 7-2!!

We had two more team birthdays the week we played Amherst--Emma on the 24th, and Maggie's birthday was actually on the Friday we played Amherst!  I'm afraid I didn't get a picture of the wonderful treats Maggie's mom brought us down at Amherst, but we did our post-practice tradition of a little dessert treat for Emma's birthday!


September ended with us heading to Amherst even though it was Fall Family Weekend at MIDD.  Because it was one game only, we went down and back in one day, which worked out well so players could get to hang out with their parents at MIDD if they wanted to.  I was pretty sick, and a handful of the kids were still battling various illnesses and remnants of symptoms, and although we competed hard, we did not prevail down in Hadley, MA that night.

It was a crazy busy month spent mostly on the road, but we'll be home for TWO weekends in October, which will feel great.


Thursday, September 5, 2019

MCVB 2019 Pre Season

Our 2019 season opening dinner this year was at The Knoll, the organic garden at Middlebury!  My house is undergoing a kitchen renovation so we couldn't really host the party there, but the Knoll was such a fun venue that we may have to continue this tradition.  It was a gorgeous night, which helps, of course!

We also have class photos, so here goes:  The Seniors (also the Captains) with Beth Neal, Gigi Alper and Chellsa Ferdinand!










 Now we have the groups by class:  First we have our Seniors and Captains:  Beth, Gigi and Chellsa!












Then we have our Juniors, who did both a regular and a "pinch face" photo!
























The Sophomores wanted to do a regular one and a pyramid, with Maggie and Ali on top, and Corley, Jane and Bella on the base!






















Last, but not least is our Freshman Class!   We have Addie from FL, Laney from SoCal, Kelly from Nor Cal, and Manya and Lucy from NY.








On an afternoon off, the team went to "cold bath soak" in the Bristol River, and followed that up with a VT Creemee!!  Nothing better to break up pre season doubles than a trip to Bristol Falls and a creemee!














Welcome back to ALL, and great job with pre-season!!  We're excited to play for the first time this weekend, but unfortunately, we will be without our freshmen as they take part in their Orientation Trips!  The rest of us leave for Union on Saturday to play both Manhattanville and Union to open the season!!







Monday, May 13, 2019

MCVB Alums Unite; Plea for Alum Connections to Current Athletes

We have a couple of fun MCVB Alum updates, and one interesting thing about these two particular situations is that the people involved didn't actually play together, or at least most of them didn't!  We had 3 former players (that we know of) that ran the Boston Marathon in April!!  What a great accomplishment and fun race.  Lauren ('11) is on the left, with Kathryn ('16) in the middle and Caitlin ('13) on the right.  Caitlin and Lauren are sisters, and Kathryn played with Caitlin, but not Lauren.  For additional background, Kathryn is from southern CA but is now living in Boston, while Caitlin is from Boston but is currently living in northern CA for grad school.  Lauren grew up in Boston and still lives there, and has run a few of these Boston Marathons!  These three joined up for a pre-race picture, which they were kind enough to share with me, and then we have the post or in-race pics also!

Then, in early May, Caroline Cordle ('12) met Gabi Rosenfeld ('17) at a MIDD Alumni Event in Washington, D.C.  Gabi introduced herself to Caroline and they started talking and voila--they both played Volleyball at MIDD, but weren't at MIDD at the same time!  What a fun connection!

Special Alumnae Note:  I'm looking for ways to connect MCVB alums with current players who may be studying or interested in a field where some of you are currently working, so I'd love to hear ideas of how I can better connect everyone?!  Alums, would you like to see a newsletter that came out monthly to update you on what we're doing, and who's studying what?  I hope you're enjoying the Blog, but for something like this, maybe a direct email would be better?!  Maybe a junior/senior profile with their areas of studies/interests?  Would you mind if I gave current players your contact information (email most likely) so they can contact you with possible questions about the profession or what your path was like?! Let me know your thoughts and ideas!!  I really am excited about this and feel like several mens' teams have been doing this forever, and I'm so proud of our amazing alumnae group and would be excited to make some connections between people!



Friday, March 22, 2019

MCVB Alums...Teammates for Life

It's always fun to hear from alums, and it's so fun for me to see how they are still in each other's lives long after they leave Middlebury.  I know several of my own teammates were in my wedding, and we still cherish the times we get together and laugh about old times and share new moments of our lives. Thanks for sharing these moments!!

First up, we have Jamie Wong ('06) Larson with her husband and two kids (welcome to the new baby!) in San Francisco with Katy Hicks ('05) visiting. 

Next up we have recent alums, Lizzy Reed ('15), Kathryn Haderlein ('16), and Katie Chamberlain ('16) all together visiting Lizzy out in CO.  Lizzy recently spent two years at The Island School in the Bahamas and then moved to the snowy mountains of Vail, CO to teach at the Vail Mountain School.  Quite a weather shift, but it looks like these guys are enjoying some warm water anyway, along with cake and some baked goods that we always all enjoy--Katie is a master baker, so did she make those, are were they just testing them out?!

I always love to hear from alums out there, so forward any news so we can catch up and share with our extended MCVB family network!  I'll also be traveling to Vegas the first weekend of April, and to Philadelphia the weekend of April 19-21 if anyone in either of those areas wants to meet up, just let me know!

I just returned from the CO Crossroads National Qualifier where I often get to catch up with Amy Lowell ('01) Bloch and Dawn Trowbridge ('00) Marsh.  This year was a quick trip for me, so I didn't see either one, unfortunately!  Additionally, Lizzy and Amy Hart ('14), both live within range of the Denver area now, so hopefully next year we'll plan a mini MCVB Reunion in CO!! 

Eliana Schaefer ('18) was just back at MIDD visiting, so it was great to see her and catch up a little!!  She's waiting to hear from a few more Medical Schools and will be headed somewhere next year to start that!  We wish her all the best on that next path of life!

Happy Spring to everyone wherever you are, and please send any updates you'd like to share with your MCVB Family!  In typical Vermont fashion, the day after it's officially Spring, the wet, heavy snow is falling outside...and accumulating.  It's snowy and slippery and practically a white-out out there!  Ahhh, Vermont weather--and we thought we'd already started Mud Season!


Monday, February 18, 2019

Claire Graduates Mid-Year on the Mountain!

Here at Middlebury, we have a special mid-year graduation.  It's call Feb Graduation.  There are a whole class of "Febs" who actually start their Middlebury career in February and then end mid-semester as well four years later.  These Febs (usually a mini-class of around 60 students) don the traditional cap and gown...and also some skis or snow shoes and then process down the mountain for their symbolic ceremonial procession!  It's a unique tradition, and one that's quite a sight to see!

This year, Claire White-Dzuro ended up having enough credits to graduate early, and thus became a "Feb" and took part in the mid-year graduation ceremony.  She will be back in the Spring to take part in the formal Spring graduation ceremony, but she had a lot of fun with this mountain celebration!  Congratulations Claire!!




Monday, February 11, 2019

J-Term Fun

January term is a fun time at Middlebury.  It's a time when students only take ONE class, so there inevitably ends up being a little more free time to enjoy various fun activities and take some short trips around the area.  

 Some of the team went to Montreal for a couple of days at one point, and another excursion was a trip to the Ben & Jerry's factory, where several tackled the "Vermonster!"  They had fun polishing off that huge bucket of ice cream sundae!!  

We also managed to have dinner (by class) at my house, at least with a couple of classes.  I missed the juniors together, but I had lunch with Chellsa before she left for Spain, and Beth, who's staying around junior year for Track.  Gigi's abroad program started after she went home for the Holiday Break, so I missed her completely.  However, I decided to invite the freshmen and sophomores out to my house for dinner.  I usually catch up with the seniors during Senior Week, but maybe we'll have to have them out to dinner soon as well, minus Claire who's already graduated!

The freshmen came out and we made pesto pasta (fresh-frozen pesto, but made with basil from my garden this Fall).  It was also their introduction to Annie, our newest family member.  We adopted her from the Animal Shelter this Fall right after the entire team and their families came out to the house for our opening BBQ, so no one had met her yet.  It's always nice for me to get to hang out with the girls outside of the season when it's not all about volleyball, and I think they enjoyed being at a house away from campus, and of course, they enjoyed playing with Annie!

Then the sophomores came out another time and we made "make your own Pizzas!"  Jaime hand-tossed one of the crusts, and we tried to recreate one of their favorite pizza's from Flatbread--the one with Balsamic, honey (and maybe maple syrup?), basil, apple, and cheese...it was very good, whether or not it was just like Flatbread, I don't know?!  We also made a margarita pizza, a meat lovers pizza with sausage, bacon and pepperoni, and a Hawaiian pizza with BBQ sauce as the base, and then pineapple, bacon, ham and cheese.  They were all very different, and fun to make, and tasted great!
 

For our Track team members, Beth and Emma, J-term meant a lot of track meets!  They were home almost every weekend of January, thank goodness, and we got to see a lot of action. Beth wasn't competing for the most part, resting her ankle for the Spring outdoor season, but Emma was getting her start with the Shot Put, which was exciting!  She's improving with this new event and we're excited to see how far she can progress for the outdoor season.  Virtue Field House is the venue for Indoor Track, and when those meets are going on, it's a spectacle to see.  There are TONS of people everywhere, and the best term for it seems to be, "organized chaos!"  I tried to get a picture of it, but I didn't catch the full feeling.

J-term culminates with the Feb Graduation, but since we had a Feb this year, we'll give her a separate Blog entry of her own!!  :)