The Shang Dynasty of China had Fu Hao, the Celtic Iceni Boudica, the French Joan of Arc and Tudor England Elizabeth. On SAT Saturday, the Bears had Michaelann Denton ‘14, who led the Bears against the Wildcats of The Williston Northampton School with the audacity of Fu Hao, the tenacity of Boudica, the charisma of “The Maid of Orleans”, and the poise of Elizabeth. Playing for an injured Samone DeFreese ’16, Michaelann inspired the Bears to a three set victory.
Set one saw the Bears play their best volleyball of the day. Focused, confident, and communicative, the squad took the set 25-8. Solid passing, hitting, and serving by Katie Stonecipher ’15 fueled a 4-0 start, and the Bears extended their lead from 8-4 to 17-4 during the serve of Krissy Goversten ’15. In addition to the consistent serves of Krissy, the team earned points via kills by Michaelann, Mary Ward ’15, and Katie. Michaelann also recorded her first block of the match. Following another kill by Mary, Michaelann supplied two aces, and Emily Barclay ’15 registered a block to return serve to the Bears. Annie Love ’16 then sandwiched two aces around a Wildcat hitting error to take us to set point. A kill by Emily finally closed out the scoring in set one.
Despite jumping out to a 6-1 lead via the hitting of Emily and the serving of Annie, the Bears seemed to lose their focus and confidence early in set two. Consequently, the Wildcat, who were staring to develop a rhythm offensively, clawed their way into leads of 10-8 and 11-10. At this point, Michaelann and Katie took charge for the Bears. After a Wildcat serving error had tied the set at 11-11, two kills by Katie put us up 13-11, and a kill by Michaelann brought Katie to the service line. Five serves later, Berkshire led 19-13. Although the Wildcats rattled off the next two points, kills from Emily and Michaelann (2) made it 22-15. Three consecutive Bear hitting errors cut our advantage to four at 22-18. A kill by Krissy and one by Katie ended the bleeding and brought us to set point respectively. After a Berkshire serving error, the Wildcats reciprocated with a service error to end the set.
Capitalizing on Bear hitting mistakes and solid serving, the Wildcats established leads of 5-1 and 6-3 early in set three. An ace from Emily fanned a sparked of intensity into life on the Berkshire side of the net, and Elif, aided by a kill from Mary and a block by Michaelann, fueled the flame with well-placed serves so that Berkshire took a 9-6 lead. At this juncture, the two squads exchanged a series of side outs as the Bears maintained a slim advantage. With the Wildcats serving at 15-13, Emily powered down a kill and rotated to the service line, where she produced an ace. A kill by Michaelann made it 18-13. A new round of side outs ensued until a kill by Katie sent Michaelann to the service line with the Bears in front 21-16. Two service points by Michaelann and a Wildcat hitting error earned the Bears an opportunity to end the set and the match. As with set two, the match ended with the squads exchanging service mistakes.
Despite the muggy atmosphere, the tedium of a long bus ride, and another shift in our lineup, the squad came off the bus ready to play and refused to crumble when play evened out in the second and third sets. Katie worked diligently today at the net and in the back row. Our setters, Elif and Morgan Handwerker ’15, worked their magic in the right front while Livi Oliviel-Robinson ’15, Krissy, and Annie supplied them with good passes. Emily had another fine day at the net and on the service line, and Mary is developing nicely as a right side hitter. Because of her fine play, hustle, and enthusiasm, Morgan earned Moose, and Michaelann, with six service points (2 aces), five kills, and two blocks, garnered Bear for her efforts today. We want to thank our fans for their cheers as well as the Loves and Dorseys for the post-match goodies. The team will now get ready to meet the Wildcats of The Ethel Walker School on Wednesday, October 9 at 2:30 p.m. in Simsbury, CT.