Volleyball starts season strong
The women’s volleyball team started its season off on the right foot as it went 3-0 in the Colby Invitational this past weekend. The home event kicked off on Friday, Sept. 9, when the Mules played Gordon College in the Wadsworth Gymnasium.
Sophomore Kate Bellerose led the offense against Gordon with nine kills. Sophomore Kate Pleasants held down defense with 12 digs in the match, backed by juniors Emily Varni and Maggie Taylor, who finished with 10 digs each, and sophomore Ellie Linden, who had nine digs. The Mules won the sets 25-10, 25-14, 25-16.
The team continued its winning streak Saturday morning with another 3-0 victory, this time over the University of Maine at Farmington with set scores of 25-20, 25-8 and 25-21. Team captains Caitlin Burchill ’12 and Mackie Sewall ’12 each had an impressive seven kills, while Bellerose and sophomore Lily Kramlich-Taylor had eight and six kills, respectively. The defense was on fire with Taylor finishing up with a whopping 19 digs and Pleasants racking up 12 digs.
The Mules took the championship Saturday afternoon with a 3-0 win over Maine Maritime Academy (MMA), who came into the match undefeated in the tournament. Mules head coach Candice Parent praised her team members for “stepping it up in clutch situations.”
“There was really great team contribution,” Parent continued. “We talked a lot about being balanced and each match a different person was leading us offensively.”
The Mules looked energized vs. MMA with Burchill making 11 digs on defense and a career-high 13 kills to help lead the Mules to a 25-20, 25-19, 25-22 win.
Burchill and Sewell were equally impressed by the team’s balance and participation. “It was a great team effort,” the captains raved. “Everybody really stepped up.”
New-to-the-team sophomore Anna Clifford “did an excellent job defensively,” Coach Parent said. “She came up with critical digs that I was extremely impressed with.”
Looking ahead, Coach Parent is excited for the season and confident in her team. “This is the most fit team I have ever coached,” she said, “They worked hard in the off-season, they are dedicated and they came into the season strong.”
Echoed Sewell, “Everyone worked extremely hard during the off-season under the guidance of Dawn Strout, the strength and conditioning coach here on campus. With her summer workout plan, the team came into preseason stronger and faster than we have ever been and it definitely has begun to pay off, and hopefully will continue to in the future.”
The Mules had great team spirit throughout the game and the players never lost energy and exchanged encouraging words between each play. Its obvious team’s strong bond and confidence in one another helped them to pull off the weekend of wins.
“We have big expectations for ourselves this year, but we are just trying to go one game at a time and keep focused, and hopefully continue to gain momentum for our NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) matches,” Burchill said. The Mules will head to Bowdoin Collegefor a conference match this Friday and will host fellow conference team Bates College on Saturday morning at 11.