October 24, 2011

            The Middlebury women's volleyball team earned a 2-1 mark at the 2011 Hall of Fame Invitational hosted by Smith and Mount Holyoke. On Friday night, the Panthers opened with a 3-1 (25-21, 25-19, 13-25, 25-20) win over Wellesley. Saturday, the Panthers made it five straight wins with a 3-0 (23, 32, 22) victory over M.I.T., before falling 3-1 (25-19, 24-26, 22-25, 17-25) to Springfield in the finale. Senior Jane Handel (Evanston, Ill.) was named to the all-tournament team.

            Against Wellesley, sophomore Megan Jarchow (Cos Cob, Conn.) pounded out 17 kills (.433 hitting percentage) and Handel added 12 in the victory. Junior Caitlin Barrett (Medfield, Mass.) had 22 digs in the match, Handel added 13, while junior Julia Gibbs (Houston, Texas) had 10 with 31 assists.

            The tight M.I.T. contest saw Jarchow and Handel each finish with 10 kills apiece, while the team combined for 20 blocks assists, led by junior Madeline Firestone’s (Solvang, Calif.) six. Barrett (14) and Gibbs (13) paced the team in digs.

            The weekend concluded with the Springfield match, where sophomore Amy Hart (Kenilworth, Ill.) and Handel led the team with 14 kills apiece. Jarchow added 10, while Barrett came up with 29 digs in the contest. Gibbs (19), rookie Lizzy Reed (Cazenovia, N.Y.) (19), Handel (14) and Hart (13) led the team in digs, with 38 assists from Gibbs.

            Earlier in the week, Handel recorded a match-high 21 kills and a team-leading 22 digs as Middlebury pulled out a 3-2 victory over Plymouth State University in a non-conference women’s volleyball match at Foley Gymnasium.

            The match was close the entire way, as the score indicates.  PSU took the first and third sets, needing extra points to earn 26-24 and 27-25 decisions.  Middlebury answered with victories in the second (25-22) and fourth sets (25-19), and finished off the match with a 15-12 verdict in set five.  Middlebury improved to 14-6 on the season, while PSU had a five-match winning streak stopped and fell to 17-9.

            Handel had just one error in 54 attempts for a .370 attack percentage.  Jarchow and Hart also reached double figures in kills with 14 and 13, respectively, and Gibbs registered 55 assists. Barrett finished with 21 digs, and Middlebury posted more than a dozen blocks, led by Firestone with five.
• Women’s volleyball record: 16-7                                                             
• Up next: 10/28 vs. Hamilton @ Amherst, 10/29 vs. Williams @ Amherst