What a weekend for the Hotchkiss Bearcats on the court and on the field as both the varsity volleyball and field hockey teams for the second time in School history captured the New England title in the same year. Volleyball upended Taft in a thrilling five-game match, capping off a 17-2 season, while field hockey captured its sixth straight New England crown, fending off an undefeated Nobles team in the championship game, 2-0. Both teams finish the 2007 season as Founders League, Western New England and New England Champions.
The girls of Varsity Field Hockey finished what they set out to do back in the beginning of the season. The team made a pact to be the best they could be every time they stepped onto the field. In doing so they not only earned a perfect 19-0 record, but also they captured an unprecedented sixth straight New England Class A title.
As the #1-seed, Hotchkiss had a tough first round draw against a feisty Loomis squad, the only team to score on the Bearcats this season. However, the quarterfinal game was at home, and Hotchkiss wanted to give Bearcat fans something to cheer about. Ten seniors playing in their final game on the ’49 fields led the Bearcats to a 4-0 victory. Hotchkiss then traveled north to face Andover, the tournament host school. The Bearcats had faced Andover in the last three New England Tournaments, most recently in last year’s final in which Hotchkiss won 4-1. The Bearcats got on the scoreboard early and never looked back; and the final tally was 3-0. In the finals, Hotchkiss came up against the #2-seed, an undefeated Nobles team. In an exciting battle, the Bearcats netted two goals off corners in the first half. Nobles fought hard as did the Bearcats, but the two goals proved to be the deciding factor as time ticked away in the second half.
The 19th win of the season capped a perfect record this fall and the eighth New England Championship for this team since 1990. Congratulations to the coaches and players for an amazing season!
The Hotchkiss Varsity Volleyball team ended the regular season ranked # 1 in the Class A division in New England on the strength of a 14-2 record. The final four of the tournament took place at the Forrest E. Mars Jr. Athletic Center at Hotchkiss.
The semifinal match had Hotchkiss playing Choate, one of two teams to defeat the Bearcats during the regular season. As always, Choate played very tenacious defense, never quit, and did its best to spoil the home court advantage. However, this proved to be a good day for the Hotchkiss Bearcats. The taller home team took over the play at net for much of the match, played excellent defense, and slowly gained control. The 3-0 final score does not indicate the excellent rallies that went on throughout the entire match. Winning in three games was a nice advantage for Hotchkiss because it gave the girls longer to rest before the finals.
On the other court Taft was beating a very good Deerfield team 3-1, setting up a rematch from one week earlier when the visiting Taft team had won an exciting match over the Bearcats 3-2 in front of a very large Taft Day crowd.
The final match was probably one of the best matches played in our league this year, with both teams playing very well. Taft won the first game; Hotchkiss came back to take the second, and Taft won the third. The very supportive home crowd helped Hotchkiss take the fourth game to tie the match at 2-2, setting up a winner-take-all fifth game. When one of the Hotchkiss players went to the locker room between games, the Taft coach insisted that play be held up for a few minutes until the Hotchkiss girl returned. The coach’s comment was that the most important game of the whole season should be played with every player on the court. This example of sportsmanship is typical of volleyball matches in our league, and one of the best aspects of playing the game.
Hotchkiss came out strong in the last game, built an early lead and managed to hang on against a very tough team from Taft. It was exciting volleyball for two hours and 40 minutes, with great defense and offense on both sides of the net. The home crowd might have been the difference in the win for Hotchkiss.
This New England Championship is # 7 for the volleyball team in the 16 years the tournament has been played. It was especially nice to win in front of the Hotchkiss fans. Thank you to everyone who came out to support the players. It meant a lot.