Volleyball Wins 10th Consecutive Match

By Alex Edel

The volleyball team continued its undefeated streak, utilizing the depth of its team to advance to 10-0. The team traveled to Clinton, NY this past Saturday, Sept. 28 to play Hamilton and Union. It continued their winning streak Tuesday, Oct. 1 with a win against Plattsburgh.

The team started off the weekend with a convincing 3-0 win against Hamilton. The Panthers were able to keep the Continentals at a fair distance winning all three sets 25-17, 25-16, and 25-17. Piper Underbrink ’15 led the team with a .875 hitting percentage and 7 kills for the game. Megan Jarchow ’14 followed close behind with 6 kills.

In a display of the depth of the team, Hannah Blackburn ’17 led on the defensive side with 12 digs, while Lauren Alper ’16 followed closely behind with 11. The captains attribute this widespread talent to a development of the program in the last four years.

“We’re very proud of the progress that Middlebury Volleyball has made over the past four – six years and much of that pride lies in our consistently deep teams,” said tri-captain Amy Hart ’14. “It’s an advantage that many teams don’t have and it gives us a whole other layer of confidence.  Practices are incredibly more productive and challenging when we consistently have two solid teams to scrimmage and push each other just as much as or even more than any opponent of ours might.”

The win against Bowdoin marks the team’s second NESCAC matchup leaving them 2-0 in league games thus far. The NESCAC play will heat up for the Panthers in the following weeks with games against Wesleyan and Trinity on Oct. 4 and 5. While Middlebury’s few NESCAC matchups thus far may lead some to think that the team’s record is hyper-inflated, tri-captain Meg Anderson ’14 feels that it is as strong as ever.

“We haven’t faced the toughest teams in the league yet but I think we have shown that we are ready to compete in the league no matter who we play,” Anderson said. “We may have played fewer games than some other NESCAC teams but we are definitely primed to be at the top of league again this year.”

Later in the day Saturday, the Panthers continued on their winning streak defeating Union 3-1 while, dropping only their second set of the season. The women came out strong with a 25-19 win in the first set. While Union was able to creep back in the second set, the Panthers were able to pull away in extra points ending the set 27-25. The third set proved more difficult for the Panthers, and the Dutchmen came away with a 25-20 win. The team did not let this phase them, continuing on to win the final set 25-22.

“Dropping sets is just part of volleyball and every team is bound to drop a set sometimes,” Anderson said. “Union was definitely the best team we’ve faced so far and I think dropping a set made us work harder to win the match. We never doubted that we would win and just played confidently.”

The team then continued on in its usual fashion, beating Plattsburgh in a mid-week game 3-0. While the first set was close enough to go into extra points, the Panthers came out with in front, taking the set 26-24. The Panthers won the next two sets 25-15, 25-22 coming away from the match without dropping a set.

The team will continue play this coming Oct. 4 and 5 at Wesleyan and Trinity, but the team is already looking forward to its games against NESCAC rivals Amherst and Williams.

“This weekend we play two NESCAC teams but I really think that our home games against Amherst and Williams in two weeks will set the pace for the second half of the season,” Anderson said. “They are typically two very good teams and I think if we practice hard and beat them, we will have a very good chance of being the first team in the league.”

The Panthers will host the Lord Jeffs and the Ephs Oct. 11 and 12 at home.

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