The women’s volleyball team went 2-2 this past week, after opening their conference schedule with two straight victories over Wesleyan and Trinity in the week prior. These past 4 matches saw the Bobcats pick up their fourth straight victory over Maine Maritime last Wednesday (3-0), before falling to Colby at home for their first conference loss on Friday. On Saturday, the team travelled to Bowdoin for the Midcoast Classic tournament, where they split their matches, defeating Worcester State 3-1 and losing to Bowdoin 3-0 in a non-conference matchup.
The volleyball team ends this busy week at 5-6 on the season, and 2-1 in the NESCAC, tied with three other teams for third place. This start to the season is a vast improvement from last year when the Bobcats failed to record a conference victory, but first year coach Melissa DeRan and the rest of the team still aren’t satisfied. “We let a great opportunity slip through our fingers in our loss against Colby. “I don’t want to take anything away from them but we scored almost 60% of their points due to our unforced errors. It left a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth. So, while we are happy to have a couple of wins under our belt, we also know we can do better,” coach DeRan said of the team’s loss to Colby last Friday.
“Colby was a hard loss for us but also a humbling experience. Painful as it was I think it was a beneficial experience to have early on in the season to remind us that there is always room for growth. It’s in situations of adversity that we grow rather than complacency,” added outside hitter Chandler McGrath ’17, who averaged 11.75 kills per match this past week and is coming off NESCAC player of the week honors from a week ago.
McGrath’s statement indicates the dedication of this team to the principle of progress throughout the season, a key to athletic success in any sport. “The energy we have this year is very different than years past. Our new coach pushes us each and every day and we are so excited to see what we can accomplish under her leadership. We have such a positive energy and we push each other harder and harder every day we step into the gym,” remarked libero Laryssa Schepel ’16, who averaged 15.75 digs per match over the course of play this past week.
The volleyball team is in the middle of a full week of practice, before they begin a stretch of five consecutive road games over eight days this Friday. This grueling part of their schedule includes four conference matches, three of which are against the teams they are currently tied with for third place in the conference standings. These matches will be the ultimate test of how far this team has come from last year, and will be critical in determining whether or not Bates can finish in the top eight of the NESCAC and qualify for the postseason conference tournament. Let’s hope they can do it.