(25-14; 19-25; 25-20; 19-25; 15-4)
Along with most of Berkshire’s athletes, the JV volleyball team boarded the bus for a gorgeous drive to Suffield, where Parents Weekend was in full swing. After only a day practicing a new defensive tactic, the girls were energized and ready to put their new blocking skills to use. The Suffield Tigers proved to be quite an even match, and for the first time all season, the game went all the way into the fifth set before the Bears clinched the win.
Thanks to junior Ali Malecka’s aggressive offense, senior Kim Henry’s blocking, and terrific teamwork from the rest of the Berkshire squad, the first set was over quickly, with a score of 25-14. Highlights also included a clutch dive from Sam Reagan ’16 as she passed the ball to setter Indie Coard ’16, and some strong hitting from Chelsea Leeds’ 15.
The second set was much closer from the start, and the Bears struggled to hang on to the serve for any length of time. After trading points with the Tigers for much of the first half, Suffield broke into the lead with a seven-point scoring run. Even though Berkshire managed to close that gap somewhat when Clementina Davila Tejeida ‘14 started off her three-point serving run with an ace, but the Bears’ rally could not bring them all the way, and the Tigers took the set 19-25.
Annie Love ’16 got the Bears off to a good start in the third set, with two aces in her first three serves. Kim Henry and Amani Bethea ’16 provided solid defense at the net, but the game remained close throughout. After being tied 8-8, Berkshire secured a strong lead when Ali Malecka’s powerful serves and the team’s great communication and teamwork helped bring the score to 16-10. The Tigers returned the favor, though, and after a few disappointing missed points, the score was tied again at 17-17. Always strong under pressure, Kim Henry and Clementina Davila Tejeida helped the Bears pull ahead and ultimately take the set, 25-20.
Set four was yet another close match, with Ali Malecka looking to end the game with her smart, aggressive hitting. Berkshire’s good offense was not matched by its serve-receive, though, and a few Suffield scoring runs put the Bears too far behind to recover. Suffield’s 19-25 victory meant the teams would play a fifth set to break the tie.
Fortunately, the Bears had Kim Henry serving in the second rotation of that tiebreaker, and Kim was ready to go home. Of the eight serves she sent over the net, four were unreturnable (including one ace), and the other four were kept in play by a motivated Berkshire defense, anchored by sophomore Alyssa Cass’s consistent passing and strategic setting from Kay Humes ’15 and Indie Coard. By the end of Kim’s serve, the score was 10-2, and the Bears were psyched to bring the game to a swift close with a final score of 15-4.
The JV team will be sad to lose Alyssa Cass, who has been called up to fill a key role in the fall play. She has become a true stalwart in the back row, showing grace under pressure in close matches, and modeling the kind of improvement through steady practice that every JV coach hopes to see. Break a leg, Alyssa!