Volleyball Posts 3-1 Run, Jarchow Earns NESCAC Player of the Week

By Mary Claire Ecclesine

The Middlebury women’s volleyball team has made some serious headway since students were let out for fall break. While out-of-season athletes were enjoying their time off, the Panthers were working hard in practice in preparation for four games in a four-day period. The Panthers came out strong with three wins against Plymouth State, Wellesley College and Brandeis University before finishing with a tight loss against Springfield. The team now stands 11 games over .500 with a 17-6 record going into its last two regular season games.

Wednesday, Oct. 17, the Panthers outworked Plymouth State, who fell 11-15 in the loss, in all three sets to close with a 3-0 shutout, winning the three sets 25-9, 25-15 25-19, respectively. Tri-captain Megan Jarchow ’14 stood out in that game with 10 kills, tallying a .421 hitting percentage. Piper Underbrink ’15 and Amy Hart ’14 also contributed 5 kills each.

Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday, Oct. 20, Smith College and Mount Holyoke hosted the Hall of Fame Invitational. The Panthers matched up against Wellesley to start the tournament, sweeping the Blue 3-0. Wellesley entered the tournament as the favorites, boasting a 23-4 record. Jarchow had another note-worthy game in the Middlebury win, however, improving her total number of kills from the previous game to 11 with  no errors to average a hitting percentage of .733. First-year Kathryn Haderlein ’16 was particularly effective as well, finishing the match with 33 assists and three service aces during the game.
Middlebury started the second day of the tournament with a 3-0 shutout against Brandeis, the team’s third in three days and fourth in a row, dating back to an Oct. 13 match at Trinity. The sets were all close, but the Panthers snuck out a victory in all three, 25-19, 25-23 and 25-16, respectively. Right hitter Amy Hart ’14, Julia Gibbs ’13 and tri-captain Madeline Firestone ’13 led the team in kills while Haderlein finished with 26 assists.

The second match on Saturday proved to be a much greater challenge than what the team had faced earlier in the week. Springfield took down Middlebury 3-2 in five sets. After winning the first set 21-25, Middlebury dropped the next two 25-22 and 25-18 before scrambling to win the fourth set 22-25 to force a fifth and deciding set, which they ultimately lost 15-12. Gibbs filled the stat sheet, totaling 10 kills, seven service aces and 15 digs while Haderlein dished out an extraordinary 45 assists. Jarchow was dominant in the loss with 19 kills and was named to the all-tournament team. Jarchow was also awarded NESCAC Player of the Week.

“We were tested this weekend by some really strong out-of-conference teams,” said outside hitter Sarah Studwell ’13. “Coming out 2-1 feels great, and I think we’re all pretty happy with how we performed.”
After the long week of games, the volleyball team looks ahead to its last two games of the season against Tufts and Bowdoin on Oct. 26 and 27 at home.

“Bowdoin and Tufts are two of the strongest teams in the NESCAC, and our results this [past] weekend will determine our standings,” said Meg Anderson ’14. “We are confident going into [next] weekend that we will be able to compete with and beat these two teams. If all goes as planned, we will finish strong as the second ranked team in NESCAC.”

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Volleyball Posts 3-1 Run, Jarchow Earns NESCAC Player of the Week