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Lady Railers to advance
By Rick Hobler
31, 2001] It
was Oct. 30. A full moon, partially masked by an eerie cloud,
loomed over Charleston — and Lady Railer volleyball players,
coaches and fans got the scare of the their postseason life. It
had nothing to do with Halloween.
had everything to do with the Lady Railers being down 4-10 in Game
2 of their sectional semifinal match against Effingham. And here
comes the scary part — the Lady Railers had already lost Game 1
by a score of 12-15.
a great all-around team effort and extraordinary performances by
Christina Xamis and Kelli Gleason ended the nightmare. Everyone’s
heart is beating again. The Railers are still alive. The
heart-stopping final score was 12-15, 15-11, 15-7.
Lady Railers advance to the sectional championship match on
Thursday at 7 p.m. in Charleston. They will face Champaign
Centennial, who upset No. 2-seeded Decatur Eisenhower in the
second three-game match of the evening.
fifth-seeded Effingham Flaming Hearts arrived in Charleston pumped
up, ready to play and eager to send the No. 1-seeded Railers home
until next year. They almost got their wish.
Game 1, Effingham could do no wrong. Everything seemed to go their
way. Not that the Railers didn’t put in the effort; they did.
But every ball and every official’s call went against them. The
Railers took what they could get. What they got was a beginning
glimpse of what would eventually help win the match for them: the
serve of Christina Xamis, the net play of Kelli Gleason and a
never-say-die effort from everybody.
Game 1 that effort totaled two service points, both aces for
Christina, and the net-finesse plays of Kelli Gleason. Before the
match was over, Christina would have a phenomenal, "you were
in a zone" 17 total service points — eight aces, six digs
and an assist. "X-traordinary!"
would end up with eight service points, seven kills and 27
assists, among other statistics. Phenomenal, considering Kelli is
usually the one who sets up the kill for everyone else except
herself. All of this while the Railers were facing defeat and
imminent elimination from the postseason.
back to Game 1. The Flaming Hearts won it 15-12. Forget the rest
of the details. They would scare you.
top of second column in this article]
Game 2, the Railers, in spite of all their effort, soon found
themselves down 4-10, after initially being up 4-3. Effingham ran
off seven consecutive points before a defensive block by Michelle
McFadden resulted in a side-out for the Railers. Kelli Gleason’s
next three serves began the Railer comeback. The momentum was
shifting slightly back to the Railers, but it was still 7-10 in
favor of Effingham. Then came Christina Xamis’ first service run
— six straight service points, including three aces. A kill by
Kari McFadden and two blocks by the Railer front line and the
Railers were up 13-10. Momentum shift accomplished.
by Missy Aper and Kari McFadden notched points 14 and 15 and the
Railers were "back to even"; match score, one game each.
the decisive Game 3, the Railers never trailed. But that doesn’t
mean it wasn’t a battle to the very end. At the service line,
Christina Xamis, once again, made sure of it. Eight service points
and three more aces were more than Effingham could handle. The
"service specialist" had worked her back-line magic.
Kelli, Tina Cook, Kari McFadden and Darcy White reclaimed
ownership of the net. Everyone hustled, passed and dug out
difficult hits. Just as the Railers refused to lose Game 2, they
willed themselves to win Game 3. Missy Aper’s serve and a
well-placed dink by Kari McFadden produced the game and match
final score of 15-7 in favor of the Railers.
played like champions. Tireless defense was played. For example:
Missy Aper and Christina Xamis, six digs each; Kari McFadden, five
digs and two blocks; Samantha Conrady, four digs and two blocks,
Tina Cook, three blocks and Michelle McFadden, two blocks.
Likewise, offense was spread around the court: Kari McFadden, 10
kills; Tina Cook, nine kills; Kelli Gleason, seven kills; Darcy
White, five kills, Michelle McFadden, three kills; and Samantha
Conrady, two kills. Everyone played with intensity and passion.
Excellent coaching resulted in the appropriate adjustments being
made to avoid a repeat of Game 1. Without any of these parts, the
Railer’s season would now be over.
Railers learned some scary lessons last night. Every team is
gunning for you. Bring your A game each night. Emotions will run
high. Refuse to lose. Whatever it takes!
the next time you want to scare me … do it any place except on
the volleyball court.
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results and upcoming games
Pulaski defeats University High
Catholic defeats Hartsburg-Emden
12-15, 15-11, 15-7
here to read this article]
[to top of second column in
Pulaski plays Central Catholic
for the Prairie Central championship, 7 p.m.
plays Champaign Centennial
for the Charleston Sectional championship, 7 p.m.
Lady Railers dominate
in regional title match
By Rick Hobler
29, 2001] Never
take any team for granted. Take each match one at a time. Two
postseason truths. Saturday night the Lady Railers heeded these
truths and dominated the Rantoul Lady Eagles 15-4, 15-3 to claim
the regional title. The Railers were so dominant that the match
took only 30 minutes to finish. The Lady Railers (27-7-1) move on
to play Effingham in the Charleston Sectional on Tuesday at 6:30
the excellent serving of Kelli Gleason, Christina Xamis and
Samantha Conrady, and great blocking by the entire front line, the
Railers rolled to victory in Game 1. In fact, the only time the
Railers trailed was at 0-1. Every point Rantoul scored in Game 1
came when an over-pumped-up Railer hit the ball long on an
over-zealous kill. Not a bad problem to have.
[Darcy White, Tina Cook and Kelli Gleason,
LCHS seniors, accept the trophy for the team.]
0-1, Kelli Gleason stepped to the service line. A powerful kill by
Tina Cook, two aces by Kelli, and two suffocating blocks by Tina
Cook and Michelle McFadden, and the Lady Railers led 6-1. Rantoul’s
next three scores came when Lady Railers missed on front-line
kills. After an ace serve by Darcy White put the Railers up 7-4,
Christina Xamis came in and worked her magic at the service line.
Once Christina put the ball in play, three faulty hits by Rantoul
and a kill by Tina Cook put the Railers ahead 11-4. Missy Aper and
Samantha Conrady finished off the Eagles as great Railer hustle
and excellent net blocking brought home the victory.
the Railers appeared to dominate in Game 1, they were even more
dominant in Game 2. Having worked off some of the overkill
adrenaline, the Railers settled down, some smiles appeared on
their faces between plays, and they took care of business. Once
again, it was the serving of Samantha Conrady, Christina Xamis and
Kelli Gleason that secured the regional championship. These three
accounted for 13 of the Railer points. Kari McFadden and Darcy
White had the remaining two service points.
top of second column in this article]
Railers methodically eliminated Rantoul by once again playing well
together and with good hustle and energy. Front-line blocking was
again crucial to the victory. The game and the match ended on a
seven-point service run by the quiet but powerful Samantha Conrady.
With Samantha at the service line, a dink and a kill by Darcy
White as well as a game-ending kill by Kari McFadden brought the
evening to a close.
it was a good first postseason match for the Railers. Their serves
and blocking skills seemed even more impressive than usual.
Excellent, well-placed serves by Samantha Conrady, Kelli Gleason
and Christina Xamis were crucial to the championship. Samantha
ended with 10 service points, including two aces, while Kelli and
Christina ended with nine and seven points, respectively,
including three aces. An additional ace by Darcy White brought the
team total for the night to six.
entire team hustled through several extended rallies with a
"never let it drop on our side" attitude. Defensive
blocking by Michelle McFadden, Tina Cook and Kari McFadden ended
several Rantoul scoring attempts.
of these game attributes will be crucial as the Railers move on
through the postseason.
on being regional champions! You earned it all year long, match by
match. You also earned your No. 1 seed. Now you’ll have to
defend it each night.
today, you face two more contrasting tournament truths — The
competition gets better in each successive match; there is no
Central Sectional update
Pulaski defeated Blue Ridge 15-2, 15-7.
defeated Olympia 6-15, 15-6, 15-7. This was H-E coach Jennifer
Hayes’ 200th career victory!
Fairbury -- Tuesday
Pulaski vs. University High, 6:30 p.m.
Catholic vs. Hartsburg-Emden, 7:30 p.m.
Fairbury -- Thursday
game, 7 p.m.
meets Rantoul on Saturday in regional final
25, 2001] Rantoul
defeated Charleston last night in the Lincoln Regional semifinal
volleyball action by the match score of 11-15, 15-10 and 15-6.
Lincoln will face Rantoul at 7 p.m. this Saturday for the regional
championship. The winner will also earn the right to play next
Tuesday in the Charleston Sectional.
will be looking for revenge on Saturday. Lincoln previously defeated
Rantoul in a regular season, non-conference match in late September.
last night’s match, Rantoul’s Kindi Schlittler had nine kills
and Rachel Idues had nine service points to help their team to
victory. Also for the winners, Katie Schmidt had six blocks. Rantoul’s
record stands at 15-17.
the losing Charleston Lady Trojans, who end their season at 14-19,
Audra Roach had 13 kills and Amanda Cutright had six kills. Denise
Wright added eight points and 15 assists, and Ashley Duzan
contributed four blocks.
doors will open at LCHS and ticket sales will begin at 6 p.m. this
Saturday. All tickets are $3, with the price being set by the IHSA.
College vs. Shawnee
25, 2001] The
Lincoln College volleyball season came to an end Wednesday night as
the sixth-ranked Lady Lynx lost to third-ranked Shawnee in three
games. The Lynx lost 30-24, 30-26, 30-22.
Guy, a Hartem graduate, continued her fine play with 22 set assists,
nine points and five aces, while Janine Buettner added eight points,
two aces and five kills. Molly Owens contributed six kills and
two blocks, while Amy Cox had four points, six kills and two blocks.
Mark Tippett said: "I felt we grew a lot as a team this season.
I was pleased with the way they responded during my first season as
coach. We were competitive and in nearly all of our matches. I
am looking forward to next year, as we have eight returning.
If we can get a few good recruits, we should be able to show a lot
College completed its season with a 14-17 record.
Lincoln College sports information director]
By Jeff Mayfield
I say, tip the hat
to Railer football coach John Oaks. While they haven’t had the
success that everyone would like to see, good programs are not
produced overnight. How long did it take the LCHS volleyball team to
become an annual power? And do you realize that the Railer hoops
squad has been a dominant team for several decades? Take away a few
breakdowns and a few bad bounces, and you’re not only looking at a
couple of wins but you’re looking at a competitive team. Here’s
hoping that coach Oaks and his staff will stay around a few years
and build the program to a competitive level. If Taylorville can do
it, so can Lincoln!
If you missed the
fifth volleyball scuffle between LC and LCC Tuesday night, you
missed a fan’s smorgasbord. The match went the full five games and
looked like it was headed for several additional minutes of play.
While I’m sure coach Crawford was not exactly thrilled with the
performance of his team, some credit must go to coach Tippett and
the Lady Lynx. They seemed to out-hustle the Angels all night and
seemed to want the game a little more. It could be passed off by
saying that LCC was looking ahead to this weekend’s regional
matches in Chicago. Whatever the case, the LDN is going on record
now as saying that both of these clubs have the potential to be very
dangerous during the playoffs. Look for both to pull off their share
also wishing good luck to the before-mentioned Lady Railer
volleyball squad. Coach Howe seems to have them primed for another
long postseason run. Wouldn’t you like to see that really BIG
trophy-plaque sitting in the glass case in good ol’ Roy S.
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