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 at 3:00 p.m. in the first-round, with the winner meeting the Skidmore/Rivier victor on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Middlebury is in its third straight 20-win season (21-8), after winning 20+ matches four years in a row from ’97-’00. During that time, the Panthers won the NESCAC title in ’97, went to the NCAA’s in ’98, while advancing to the ECAC semifinals in ’97, ’99 and ’00. Middlebury’s 17-year head coach Sarah Raunecker recently earned her 300th win as a Panther, owning a career mark of 310-175.
Last season, the team captured the NESCAC Championship, advancing to an NCAA Regional at Springfield. Middlebury earned a 3-0 win over Polytechnic, before falling 3-1 to UMass.-Boston in the second round.
Middlebury has enjoyed a stellar season, boasting a 21-8 mark as they enter NCAA Tournament play. The Panthers recently earned a pair of NESCAC Tournament wins over Connecticut College and NCAA participant Tufts, before falling to Bowdoin in the title match. Middlebury amassed three different five-match win streaks during the season, including 10 of 11 wins during a stretch beginning in October.
Middlebury’s hitting percentage of .197 is fourth in the NESCAC this season, while the team is third in blocks (2.07) and fourth in assists (10.6). Four-time All-NESCAC selection Jane Handel returned from injury midway through the season and has come on strong for the Panthers. The former NESCAC rookie of the year and player of the year has played in 61 of 107 sets this season, ranking second on the team with 2.97 kills and 3.07 digs/set.
Sophomore Megan Jarchow was the league’s rookie of the year last season, earning a first-team All-NESCAC spot this year. She leads the team and is fourth in the league with 3.20 kills/set, earning a team-best hitting percentage of .255.
Sophomore Amy Hart (2.23 kills, .43 service aces) is also tops in kills, while junior Sarah Studwell (2.39 kills) absorbed lots of Handel’s time early in the season, putting up impressive numbers. Junior Madeline Firestone is fifth on the team in kills with 1.30/set, while ranking second with .71 blocks.
Junior Caitlin Barrett and Julia Gibbs were both second-team All-NESCAC selections this fall. Barrett, who earned NCAA All-Tournament honors last season, led the team and is fourth in the NESCAC with 5.03 digs/set this season. Gibbs earns her second-straight appearance on the All-NESCAC second-team, taking over as the team’s setter this season (8.7 assists/set). Senior Elissa Goeke leads the team in blocks with .91/set, placing her fourth in the NESCAC.
2010 NCAA Women’s Volleyball Regional
Friday, November 11th – Clarkson
#3 Skidmore (27-8) vs. #6 Rivier (22-13) - 12:30 pm
#2 Middlebury (21-8) vs. #7 Colby-Sawyer (20-14) - 3:00 pm
#1 Cortland (39-1) vs. #8 Southern Vermont (30-2) - 5:30 pm
#4 Clarkson (28-8) vs. #5 Nazareth (26-12) - 8:00 pm
Saturday, November 12th – Clarkson
Skidmore/Rivier winner vs. Middlebury/Colby-Sawyer winner - 3:30 pm
Cortland/Southern Vermont winner vs. Clarkson/Nazareth winner - 6:00 pm
Sunday, November 13th – Clarkson
Regional Final – 4:00 p.m.