Rick Spooner Volleyball Classic v. Rumsey Hall, Chase Collegiate, and Westover
When the JV volleyball team boarded the Berkshire school bus on Saturday, bound for Rumsey Hall, there were rumors that this tournament had the potential to yield a trophy. Though the hosts retained top honors, the team indeed returned to Sheffield with some hardware to honor their second-place finish in the Rick Spooner Volleyball Classic.
In the preliminary round, each of the four teams present played two sets against each of the others, with the two teams that won the most sets advancing to the final best-of-three match. Berkshire first faced off against Westover, a team they had not seen since their first game of the season. While Westover had made great strides since that warm day in September, Berkshire had also improved, and thanks to the Bears’ excellent serving and smart offense, they won both sets: 25-11 and 25-10. Highlights included the five unreturnable serves delivered by Annie Love ’16 in the first set, and an extraordinary ten-point serving run, including three aces, by Nicky Friedman ’15 in the second set.
The second opponent Berkshire faced was Chase Collegiate. The first set got off to a rocky start for the Bears, as their spotty communication on the court allowed the Highlanders to secure an early 6-11 lead. Berkshire’s offense had some great moments later on in the set, with spectacular hits from Chelsea Leeds ’15 and Amani Bethea ’16, but Chase took the first set 20-25. In the second set, Berkshire regained its stride, led by Annie Love’s serving streak right out of the gate – of the seven balls she sent over the net, only two found their way back. Nicky Friedman added another ace, and Ali Malecka ’14 and Kim Henry ’13 delivered well-placed hits that helped Berkshire take the set, 25-18.
The last preliminary round was against the hosts of the tournament, the Blue Dogs of Rumsey Hall. Kim Henry notched two kills in the first set, and the blocking duo of Kim and Indie Coard ’16 prevented a number of Rumsey’s hits from making it over the net. When the ball did come over, Kay Humes ’15 was ready to dig for even the most improbable passes, and Amani Bethea was prepared to tip or spike it as the situation demanded. The Bears’ great teamwork helped them win the first set 25-21, but the Blue Dogs rebounded to take the second set 16-25.
With four wins out of the six preliminary sets, Berkshire qualified to play against Rumsey Hall in the finals. By this time, the Bears had been playing volleyball for about three hours, and they were exhausted. Some fantastic rallies in the first set of the finals showed the best of both teams, as they hustled and dove to keep the ball from hitting the floor. Sophie Needles ’16 and Ali Malecka both scored kills, and Kim and Indie again made a formidable blocking pair. As the team’s energy waned, though, their strongest hits went less far, and Rumsey was able to take the set 12-25. By the last set, the Bears had left everything on the court, and the Blue Dogs rapidly served their way to a 3-25 victory, clinching the top spot in the tournament.
Despite the scores in the final sets, the Bears had much to be proud of in the Rick Spooner Classic. They played together as a team and supported one another on the court and from the bench, and even when the games were lopsided, they never gave up or got sloppy. In terms of tangible honors, Kim Henry ’13 and Annie Love ’16 were named to the All-Tournament Team, and of course, let’s not forget that beautiful and hard-earned second-place trophy.
This Wednesday will be the JV volleyball team’s last home game, as they take on Miss Porter’s. We hope to see you in the gym!