The Middlebury College women's volleyball team will make its third straight and fourth overall NCAA Tournament appearance, when the Panthers travel to Clarkson for an NCAA Regional. The matches will take place Friday-Sunday, November 9-11, with the winner advancing to the NCAA Quarterfinals. The Panthers will take on Southern Vermont Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the first-round, with the winner meeting the Nazareth/Clarkson victor on Saturday at 6:00 p.m.
Middlebury is in the midst of its fourth straight 20-win season (22-6), 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. A year ago, the Panthers captured the NESAC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals at Clarkson, where they fell to Cortland, 3-1. Middlebury fell in the second-round of the regionals in '10, dropping a 3-1 match to UMass.-Boston at Springfield.
Middlebury earned its way into the tournament this year with another automatic bid after capturing its fourth NESCAC Championship. The Panthers earned a 3-0 victory at Connecticut College last Sunday to earn the crown. Head coach Sarah Raunecker is now in her 18th season at the helm, owning a career record of 334-182 (.647).
Middlebury has enjoyed a stellar season, boasting a 22-6 mark as they enter NCAA Tournament play. The Panthers recently earned a pair of NESCAC Tournament wins over NCAA participants Connecticut College and Bowdoin. Middlebury amassed a five and a seven-match winning streak this season, currently riding a second five-match streak into NCAA play.
Middlebury is second among NESCAC schools with 12.41 kills/set this season, while also ranking second with 11.33 assists/set. The team in second in kills (12.41), while holding down the fourth spot in digs (16.38) and hitting percentage (.209).
NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year Caitlin Barrett has enjoyed an outstanding year as the team's libero. She leads the NESCAC in digs with 5.01/set and is second all-time at Middlebury with 1,950 digs. A second-team All-NESCAC selection last year, Barrett has a .949 reception percentage, with just 25 errors on 489 attempts this season. She earned 20 or more digs 13 times this season, including 21 against Bowdoin and 23 against Connecticut College in the NESCAC Tournament. The senior captain has played in more matches than anyone at Middlebury, entering NCAA play with 117 matches under her belt.
Megan Jarchow was a first-team All-NESCAC selection for the second straight season after being named the NESCAC Rookie of the year in '10. The junior outside hitter leads the team and is fifth in the NESCAC with 3.13/set, while ranking seventh in the league and first on the team among hitters with a .270 percentage. She earned a season-high 19 kills twice this season, including boasting a .400 hitting percentage in the NESCAC Championship win over Connecticut College. Jarchow is fourth all-time at Middlebury with 972 kills in 91 matches played.
Julia Gibbs was a second-team All-NESCAC selection for the third straight season after earning conference rookie of the year honors in '09. The senior was setting early in the season, but has moved to right side hitter in mid-October. She is among the team leaders in many categories, including kills (1.53), assists (5.52), service aces (.44), digs (3.51) and blocks (.42). Gibbs also has just 10 errors on 203 attempts for a .951 reception percentage. She earned double digits in kills three times this season, including NESCAC Tournament wins over Trinity and Bowdoin.
Amy Hart earned second-team honors after a solid junior season hitting for the Panthers. She is second on the team with 2.94 kills/set this season, placing her sixth in the NESCAC. Hart is also tops among Panthers in service aces, owning 52 this season for a .52/set average. She is third on the squad with 2.52 digs/set with a season-high 20 at Amherst on October 12th. On 15 different occasions Hart earned double digits in kills, including a season-high 18 at Connecticut College on September 15th.
2012 NCAA Women's Volleyball Regional
Friday, November 9th – Clarkson
#5 Skidmore (26-7) vs. #4 SUNY-New Paltz (32-8) – 12:30
#8 Colby-Sawyer (18-13) vs. #1 Cortland (33-5) – 3:00
#7 S. Vermont (24-6) vs. #2 Middlebury (22-6) – 5:30
#6 Nazareth (22-14) vs. #3 Clarkson (28-6) – 8:00
Saturday, November 10th – Clarkson
Skidmore/New Paltz winner vs. Colby-Sawyer/Cortland winner - 3:30 pm
S. Vermont/Middlebury winner vs. Nazareth/Clarkson winner - 6:00 pm
Sunday, November 11th – Clarkson
Regional Final – 2:30 p.m.