(20-25; 25-23; 25-22)
The JV volleyball team made the long journey to Northfield Mount Hermon on Wednesday to square off against the Hoggers in their closest match yet. Despite strong competition and an early defeat from the NMH squad, the Bears were able to pull together and rally to a 2-1 victory.
The first set started out fairly even, anchored by junior Clementina Davila Tejeida’s great serving and powerful hitting that eluded the Hoggers’ blocking. With the two teams neck-and-neck at 7-9, a scoreboard malfunction caused an extended delay in the game, after which NMH embarked on an impressive scoring run that left Berkshire trailing 7-16. Coach Cohan called a timeout to regroup, and when the team returned to the court, co-captain Ali Malecka ’14 delivered four straight unreturned serves that rallied the team and rattled the opposition, who called another timeout. Back row players Annie Love ’16, Sam Reagan ’16, and Sophie Needles ’16 worked together beautifully to cover the middle of the court, which had previously been left open to the Hoggers’ capable hitting. Toward the end of the set, Kim Henry ’13 sprang into action on offense, drilling two excellent hits over the net. Though the Hoggers won the set 20-25, the Bears were heartened by their comeback and ready for another chance to take on this worthy opponent.
Despite their enthusiasm, the beginning of the second set shook the Bears’ confidence, as NMH sent over a series of powerful serves that escaped Berkshire’s defense and brought the score to 8-15. Then, co-captain Annie Love ’16 led the team on a six-point rally that set the tone for the rest of the game. As the tension built, the team relied on their excellent communication on the court, not to mention the enthusiastic support of their teammates on the bench. After Indie Coard ’16 tied the score at 18-18, the Bears and Hoggers traded points all the way to the end, with Berkshire finally pulling ahead to clinch a 25-23 victory.
With the match tied 1-1, the competitive energy going into the third set was palpable on both sides. Berkshire secured an early lead, thanks to more strong serving from Clementina Davila Tejeida, along with some well-executed hits from the front row and an impressive tip from Sophie Needles. However, some short serves on the Bears’ side, combined with a strong NMH offense, soon brought the Hoggers back from behind, setting the stage for the close game that was to ensue. The score was tied at almost every step of the way: 14-14, 16-16, 19-19, and 22-22.
When the score was tied 22-22, the Hoggers’ coach called a timeout, at which point the game official notified Coaches Cohan and Connell that, since the varsity team had finished playing, the JV contest would be decided as best-of-three rather than the customary best-of-five. The final three points of this set suddenly took on additional significance, as they would determine the outcome of the entire match. Annie Love’s confident serves in these final points helped Berkshire secure the victory, 25-22.
Please join the team this Saturday at 3:30, as they will be at home once again, facing off against the Williston Wildcats for the second time this season.