Volleyball dowqns Northeastern
The Dartmouth women's volleyball team got back in the win column last night with a four game victory over the Northeastern, 8-15, 15-12, 15-5, 15-7.
The victory marked the end of a three match losing streak for the Big Green (17-5), who now look forward to their final Ivy League matches of the season this weekend against Brown and Yale in Leede Arena.
"This match was a relief more than anything else," Dartmouth head coach Ann Marie Larese said. "We really needed it."
Despite dropping the first game of the match to the Huskies (10-17), the Big Green was able to regain its composure and break out with nearly error-free play for the remainder of the match.
"We were able to get it together and play very well after the first," Larese said.
Anne Murray '00 had a big night for Dartmouth, knocking down a team-high 19 kills. Fellow sophomore Janna Merryfield '00 contributed another 14 kills to a Big Green offense that had a .230 hitting percentage on the night. The offensive stars for the night, Murray and Merryfield, are tops on the team in kills for the season as well.
Dartmouth's play in the final three games was reminiscent of the weekend's performance. Check that. Change every "poorly" from the weekend to "excellently," "ineffectively" to "superbly," and "afraid" to "confident." Yes, last night's match was Dartmouth at its best.
"Our hitting was incredible," Larese said. "We were able to spread the ball out which we didn't do over the weekend."
Larese also commended freshman Jessica Wirth, who stepped up big in the second game to shore up the Big Green's blocking.
"Jessica did an excellent job in the middle," Larese added.
In the backcourt, Dartmouth came up with a season-high 93 digs for the match.
"Our defense improved immensely tonight," Larese said. "Northeastern didn't hit a lot of winners."
The only sour note for the Big Green was an injury to Murray's ankle in the final game. Murray was replaced with Emily Ramee '00.
"Emily did an excellent job," Larese said. "She stepped right in and played great defense."
Larese speculated that Murray would be okay to play in the weekend's matches.
So what's changed a Dartmouth team that three days ago was questioning its abilities into last night's team that beat down the Huskies to whimpering puppies?
"Confidence plays a huge role," Larese added. "We looked confident on the outside. We were hitting our old shots."
Perhaps there is no greater confirmation of the players' restored belief in themselves than an awesome one-handed stuff-block by Latia Curry '98 in the final game that sent the ball straight to the floor, and Dartmouth arms to the air in elation.
"Latia's block really took the air out of their tires," Larese said.
Curry leads the Big Green with 50 blocks on the season.
"The things that won us 16 matches before tonight won the match for us tonight," Larese said.
"We frustrated them and made them make mistakes," Larese said.
The Big Green will now set its sights on the weekend's league matches. With wins over Brown and Yale and two losses by Harvard, the Big Green could be at the top of the Ivies come Monday.