Senior Night, for many teams, means
it's almost over. Not for the Lincoln Lady Railers. Not this year.
Last night the Railers first and
foremost gave honor to whom honor is due: Michi McFadden, Mel Boyer,
Brooklyn Robbins, Maria Benitez, Robin Conklen, Katie Green, Megan
Hoffert, Julie Fults and Kendall Paulus. Senior Night, always a
bittersweet moment, was more sweet than bitter last night as the
Railers honored their senior teammates and easily ended their
fantastic regular season with a win over the Senators of Springfield
High School. The win brought their season total to 30, and, due to a
Sacred Heart win over Jacksonville last night, placed the Railers in
second place in the CS8 conference standings at 6-1.
And as soon as the regular season
ended, the postseason began. This year it begins right here in
Lincoln. The Railers hope to see it end with wins at Redbird Arena.
But first things first. The Lady
Railers made short work of Springfield High School last night,
primarily on the exceptional serving of its starters. In game one
Michelle Fitzpatrick started it and senior Brooklyn Robbins ended
it. Michelle began the serving extravaganza with eight successive
points, putting the Railers up 9-1 before she rotated over. At 18-9
Brooklyn took over from the back line and powered seven serves,
including five aces and two "as close as you can get to an ace"
serves to end the game at 25-9.
The Railer servers continued their
dominance in game two as once again Michelle Fitzpatrick ran off
five in a row, to put the Railers ahead 7-2. Not to be left out,
senior "mighty" Mel Boyer came up next to add three of her own
service points. Senior Maria Benitez got another to make it 16-7 in
favor of the Railers, and Robbins came back to get another two aces
to bring the score to 20-11. And, in the spirit of sharing, the
seniors allowed one other underclassman, Katie Conklen, to help
finish off the Senators at 25-15.
All totaled, Fitzpatrick left the
floor last night with 14 service points and Robbins had 10 with
seven aces. Not a bad night's work.
[to top of second column in
The front-line story for Lincoln
last night was primarily about Erin Frick and senior Julie Fults.
Erin finished the match with 10 kills and five blocks. Erin
dominated both the Railer middle and outside hitting areas. This is
the kind of strong performance that the Railers will need to have
from Erin all through the postseason. Julie added another five
nicely placed kills as the Railers dominated the net all night.
As always there were the usual
Senior Night "surprises": Two Railer seniors had to sit out with
minor injuries, resting up in hopes of being stronger for the
postseason and causing Lincoln's coach Howe to have to come up with
"creative" lineup changes. Julie Fults, one of the exceptional
senior front-line hitters, decided she wanted to be a setter about
halfway through game two… and did a fine job at it. Brooklyn Robbins
got a kill or two of her own, instead of just setting up others to
do the honors. All good, typical Senior Night fun.
But the fun turns into hard work and
For the Railers, only the first part
of their season is over. And while it was a successful first part,
it was only the warm-up for the second season, the postseason. That
second season begins next Wednesday at LCHS as the Railers make a
run at a state volleyball title. The road to Redbird is tough, but
doable. Carrying the No. 1 seed in their sectional complex will mean
the Railers will have a target on their back all the way to Normal.
They start "the trip" by staying home to face Decatur Eisenhower
next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. The late game that night will place
eighth-seeded Mahomet-Seymour against 10th-seeded Decatur MacArthur.
The winners on Wednesday will play for the regional title on
Saturday, the 30th, at 7 p.m. And that's just the beginning of the
In order to get to Redbird, the Lady
Railers, especially the seniors, will literally have to play every
game like it might be their last. It's time to step up, ladies. It's
not over until you say it's over.
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