Last night's match was no
In its second match of the week
against invaders from the near north, the Lincoln Lady Railers
defeated the Normal West Wildcats by a match score of 25-21, 25-23.
Normal West, coming off a tough three-game match loss to
Jacksonville on Tuesday night was ready to conquer at least one
Central State Eight team this week. The Railers had different plans
for their week.
Game 1 of the match was a
battle from start to finish. Game 2 of the match was not nearly as
close as the score reflects. The battle raged all night between the
entire LCHS front line and primarily the tough play of Normal's
senior outside hitters, Monica Renfrow and Jessica Dodge. In the end
the Railers' numerous weapons tamed the Wildcats for good. The
Railers improve to 4-0 while the Wildcats drop to 1-3.
Game 1 of the match was up for
grabs the entire time, with seven tie scores and not more than a few
points separating each team throughout. The Railer front line,
especially Michelle McFadden and Samantha Conrady, killed all the
Wildcats' nine lives with their powerful hitting. Megan Hoffert and
McFadden also administered several facials to their opponents, as
they successfully blocked Normal's attempts to kill. The Lady
Railers did find themselves down, once at 7-11 and also at 17-20,
but never gave in or gave up. At 17-20 the Railer front line took
over, and after three quick kills from McFadden, a kill from Conrady
and a block from Hoffert and McFadden, the home team had 25 while
Normal could manage only 22. Game 1 was history.
The battle of Game 1 seemed to
take most of the fight out of the Wildcats for Game 2 -- that is,
except at the very end. The Lady Railers cruised along at the
beginning of Game 2 and never trailed at any point. The Railers did
have a "too close for fan comfort" midgame lapse -- again mostly
caused by the persistent play of Normal's Monica Renfrow. With the
Railers leading 21-14, Renfrow first dinked a ball onto the Railer
side of the floor and then reeled off six service points, and the
score stood at 21-21. Kendall Paulus stopped the run with a dink of
her own to put LCHS up 22-21, and a Megan Hoffert soft touch put the
finishing touch on the match as the Railers won 25-23.
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In reflecting on the match my
observations were as follows: Michelle McFadden was unstoppable,
especially on the quick set (nine kills, four blocks and five digs).
After going to Michelle for much of Game 1, the Railers failed to go
to her enough in Game 2. The emotion and "attitude" of Brooklyn
Robbins were crucial to the victory in both games, especially when
Game 2 seemed to be slipping away.
Coach Howe can easily rotate
numerous players (Conrady, McFadden, Fults, Hoffert, Paulus, Boyer
and others yet to be seen) through the front row without losing any
ability to put the ball down with authority. Excellent blocking
skills by Hoffert, McFadden and others made the difference against
strong outside hitters like Renfrow and Jessica Dodge from Normal.
The Railer serving, especially
that of Katie Green and Maria Benitez, while not crushing opponents,
is certainly good and consistent -- which, with rally scoring, is
what is preferred over anything else.
It once again took the entire
Railer rotation of players to make the victory happen. The Railers
seemed to once again have more physical stamina and more of a will
to win than their opponent.
The Railers are good -- and
it's early. They can be great.
Here are the notable varsity
numbers for the entire match: kills -- McFadden 9, Conrady 4; blocks
-- McFadden 4, Hoffert 3; assists -- Robbins 21; service points --
Green 11, Benitez 10; digs -- Robbins and Benitez 6 each and
In junior varsity action LCHS
showed its determination and desire as it came from behind to also
defeat Normal West, by scores of 21-25, 27-25 and 25-12. The JV
squad, under the excellent direction of coach Conrady, dug several
major holes for themselves and then, when the chips were down,
played their hearts out to win. The junior varsity also remains
undefeated in match play.
The Lady Railers hit the road
beginning this weekend to play in the always-challenging St. Francis
Borgia Tournament and then the next weekend in the East Peoria
Tournament. The Lady Railers return home to play a Monday night
match against Mount Zion on Sept. 22 and then begin their begin CS8
play at home, against Taylorville, on Tuesday, Sept. 23.
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