November 7, 2011

            The Middlebury College women’s volleyball team will make its second straight and third overall NCAA Tournament appearance, when the Panthers travel to Clarkson for an NCAA Regional. The matches will take place Friday-Sunday, November 11-13, with the winner advancing to the NCAA Quarterfinals. The Panthers will take on Colby-Sawyer Friday in the first-round, with the winner meeting the Skidmore/Rivier victor on Saturday.

            Making its second straight appearance in the NESCAC Championship match, Middlebury was unable to repeat as champions, falling to Bowdoin, 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-17). The Polar Bears win their first league title, improving to 26-2 overall, while the Panthers fall to 21-8.

            The Polar Bears won a tight first set and, up 22-21 in the second set, scored three of the final four points to carry a 2-0 lead into the third. Bowdoin raced to a 12-3 edge in the final stanza and pulled away to clinch their first league crown.

            Kristin Hanczor led the Polar Bears with 12 kills while Ellie Brennan added nine. Tory Edelman notched seven kills to go with five blocks while Melissa Haskell pitched in eight kills, 12 digs and three blocks.

            Sophia Cornew led the Bowdoin attack with 38 assists, while also contributing 10 digs defensively. Taylor Vail led the hosts with 13 digs.

            Middlebury received 12 kills from sophomore Megan Jarchow (Cos Cob, Conn.), who also collected three blocks. Sophomore Amy Hart (Kenilworth, Ill.) had two aces, eight digs and three blocks for the Panthers, who also got 14 digs from junior Caitlin Barrett (Medfield, Mass.). Junior Julia Gibbs (Houston, Texas) earned 17 assists in the setback for Middlebury.

            Middlebury earned the right to defend its NESCAC Championship on Sunday after defeating Tufts, 3-1 (26-24, 20-25, 25-21, 28-26 ), in the NESCAC semifinals at Bowdoin College on Saturday afternoon.

            Middlebury carried a 2-1 lead into the fourth set and rallied from a 22-19 deficit, dodging a set point for Tufts, to earn a 28-26 victory to seal the match.

            The Panthers featured a balanced attack, getting 13 kills each from Jarchow and senior Jane Handel (Evanston, Ill.). Handel also pitched in 11 digs for Middlebury.

            Gibbs sparked the attack with 38 assists and earned 16 digs defensively. Barrett led the squad with 19 digs. 

            Cara Spieler led the way for the Jumbos, racking up a match-high 19 kills and 19 digs in the loss. Hayley Hopper had 15 kills and Kelly Brennan notched 11 for Tufts. Kendall Lord dished out 52 assists while Audrey Kuan posted 28 digs.

            Middlebury topped Connecticut College 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-18) in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC Volleyball quarterfinals on Friday evening at Morrell Gymnasium.

            Handel dominated the court, posting a game-high 17 kills against just two errors with 10 digs in the victory. Jarchow and Hart had nine kills each while Gibbs dished out 41 assists and notched five service aces.
• Women’s volleyball record: 21-8                                                             
• Up next: 11/11-13 @ NCAA Regional (Clarkson)