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!


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!


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.