The Deerfield Junior Varsity volleyball team (4-2) hit the road on Wednesday, October 17, for their first away game in almost a month. They traveled into the beautiful Berkshire mountains to face Hotchkiss (5-4). From the opening point, it was clear that the Connecticut team was talented; Big Green knew they were in for a tough match. They battled hard, but their rallies fell short as they lost 3-1.
Deerfield dropped the first set 14-25, and it felt even more lopsided than the score indicated. Hotchkiss sailed on smooth passes, crisp sets, and well-placed hits. Deerfield had trouble returning those hits and could not muster many successful rallies. It looked like the long bus ride and the weight of midterms also took their toll, as the girls seemed low on energy and prone to letting the ball drop.
The second set seemed to be going in a similar direction, but suddenly Big Green found some legs. A few balls fell into the right spot and some successful serves suddenly had Deerfield back in the game, with each team rallying to retake the lead. Finally, Deerfield pulled away to take a 24-21 lead and it felt like they had the momentum to even the match. But in heartbreaking fashion, Hotchkiss rallied to regain the serve, and with a strong server peppering the back row, they took four service points to win the set 24-26.
Though a tough loss to swallow, Deerfield was rejuvenated by the exciting game. They came out firing on all cylinders in the third set. Passes, sets, and hits, which were scrambled and off the mark in earlier sets, were suddenly crisp and clean. It was clear the team was feeling confident and having fun. At one point, Maddie Lee ’20 found a serving groove, and the team rallied for 9 points on her serve. Big Green stormed toward the finish line, up 24-11. And then, the momentum swung the other way. Hotchkiss rallied strong and didn’t give up, pushing hard with each desperate hit. Every point that they won shifted the energy back into their favor. Finally, Deerfield won a rally and finished the set with a 25-19 victory. But the momentum had shifted for good.
Deerfield jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the fourth set, but Hotchkiss followed that with a 9-point service run of their own. Each opponent hit seemed to find an empty place on Big Green’s court. Deerfield recovered and played even with Hotchkiss for the remainder of the set, but they could never regain those lost points, eventually falling 19-25.
The word ‘momentum’ definitely described the day. Each game had momentum swings that led to long rallies on one side and then long rallies on the other. The match itself also displayed a broad momentum, starting with Hotchkiss, swinging toward Deerfield for parts of sets two and three, and then swinging back to Hotchkiss. Deerfield played some of its strongest volleyball today, but they could not maintain that high level long enough to fend off a strong Hotchkiss team.
The JV team (4-3) returns to the road on Saturday, October 20 to face Philips Exeter (8-0). The girls will once again need to find some energy on the court after a long bus ride. Go Big Green!
Set one: 14-25
Set two: 24-26
Set three: 25-19
Set four: 19-25