Perhaps too easy, would be a fair
description of last night's IHSA Class AA regional semifinal match
between the Lady Railers and the Panthers from Decatur Eisenhower.
After a long delay, due to the Panthers getting lost finding the
LCHS gym, Lincoln rather quickly dispatched the Panthers by a match
score of 25-15, 25-9.
It was the beginning of what the
Railers hope will be a total of eight victories in a row during this
postseason run. I doubt any other match from here on out will be
quite so simple.
In game one the Railers gave too
many points away and then finally put the Panthers away. After too
much adrenaline caused the first two Railer kills to go out of
bounds, the Railers settled down and began to build their lead to
13-6, mostly on the serving of Michelle Fitzpatrick with help from
Michi McFadden and Mel Boyer. The Railer front line took turns
finishing points as McFadden, Boward, Fults, Frick and especially
Megan Hoffert all put the ball down on the Panthers' side of the
court. Hoffert also made one kill "supper" for one of the Panthers.
Several Railer mistakes and a few Panther kills characterized the
rest of the game. Game one seemed to be being played in slow motion
throughout. Eventually the Panthers decided to end it by hitting a
kill long for the game's final point.
In the second game of the match it
was the serving of Maria Benitez and Michelle Fitzpatrick that ran
the table for the Railers. By my count, Maria had the first nine
service points to begin the game and also got the last four service
points. When Maria decided to let up for a moment, Michelle
Fitzpatrick decided, once again, to take the ball. When Michelle
handed the ball over, the score stood at 17-3 in favor of the
Railers. Megan Hoffert did the majority of the net work for the rest
of game two. The Railers finished the night by winning game two by
the lopsided score of 25-9.
[to top of second column in
For the night, my stats had Maria
Benitez with 14 service points and Michelle Fitzpatrick close behind
with 11. Michelle had three aces and Maria added two aces of her
own. Katie Green and Fitzpatrick did a great job on defense as they
dug out 13 balls that otherwise would have hit the Railer side of
the floor. Michi McFadden led the team in kills with seven, and
Megan Hoffert added six kills of her own and two blocks. As always,
Brooklyn Robbins did a great job of running the offense as she
totaled 20 assists in setting up the Railer hitters.
The Railers next move on to play in
the regional championship match on Saturday night at 7 against the
spirited Decatur MacArthur Lady Generals. The Lady Generals defeated
Mahomet-Seymour in last night's second match by the score of 25-13,
25-18. The Lady Generals got good overall play from Julie Haskel,
especially at the service line, and good net play from 6-foot middle
hitter Abby Andrick. The Lady Generals' setter, Michelle Calvert,
also had several successful soft tips over the top of Mahomet
blockers and into the open court.
Nothing will be easy from here on
out. One at a time. GO, RAILERS!
Respond to the writer at