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Wednesday, Sept. 8

Railer ladies return the favor

LCHS wins first of this week's two major challenges

By Rick Hobler          Send a link to a friend

[SEPT. 8, 2004]  If being polite means always returning a previous "favor," then last night the Lincoln ladies' volleyball squad was very polite.

With memories of last season's postseason playing out in their heads, the Lady Railers avenged their postseason-ending loss to Bloomington High School last night in the unfriendly confines of the Purple Raiders' gym. Lincoln won the match 25-19, 25-22 to improve to 3-0. Favor graciously returned.

In game one of the match, the Railers started out a bit slow but then slowly pulled away from BHS. The two rivals played neck and neck until 6-6, and BHS continued to keep it close until the 10-8 mark. After that, except for a surge at the end, LCHS was pretty much in control. At 10-8, a co-block by Erin Frick and Miche McFadden, a Michelle Fitzpatrick kill, along with two more net winners by McFadden left BHS down 15-8 -- a deficit from which they never recovered. The rest of the first game consisted mostly of Megan Hoffert and McFadden sending the ball to the floor on the BHS side of the net.

In game two, the Railers jumped out quickly and then held on for dear life at the end. Thanks again to some great defense, some beautiful short serving and the net play of Hoffert, Fitzgerald and McFadden, the Railers found themselves comfortably ahead at 15-10. After a nice block by Julie Fults the Railers were up 16-10. Then the roof almost caved in. After a missed kill by LCHS, the next Bloomington server reeled off five successive points -- all but the very last caused by Railer faulty hits. After an ace by McFadden and two more Hoffert kills, the score stood at 20-20. That's when the excellent short serving of Mel Boyer and the "you can't return this" hitting of Miche McFadden took over and dashed Bloomington's comeback hopes.

The Railer defense kept the ball off the floor all night as it stymied BHS' jump serves and little dinks over the net as well as blocking and deflecting most of Bloomington's kills. Michelle Fitzpatrick refused to let anything near her hit her side of the floor. Brooklyn Robbins was everywhere Fitzpatrick wasn't. With only a few exceptions, the defensive back row with Katie Green, Maria Benitez and a host of others made some excellent crucial first passes.

Megan Hoffert stepped up, played consistently well all night and had her best match of this young season. I look for more aggressiveness from Megan over the long season in order to assure uninterrupted strong net play from the Railers.

 

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Once again Brooklyn Robbins played with intensity. Her multidimensional game of setting, serving and defense gets better every match. She will need every part of her game and the team will need her leadership and strategic setting in every match.

Statistically the game looked like this: kills -- McFadden 12, Hoffert 9; blocks --McFadden 3, Robbins and Frick each with 1; assists -- Robbins 29; service points -- Robbins 6, Boyer 5; aces -- McFadden 2, Boyer, Robbins, Benitez and Fitzpatrick 1 each; and digs -- Fitzpatrick 10 and Robbins 7.

The win, however, was not without its concerns. While the Railers were dominating in many ways, they handed BHS most of its points through unforced errors. Out of Bloomington's 41 points, my notes show only a handful of points actually scored through their own efforts, especially in the first game. Most of the BHS scoring came on Railer long serves, missed kills and some errant first passes.

There will be no such room for error this upcoming Thursday night. The Railers will again travel to an even louder place to play an even better team -- Normal West High School. Normal West soundly defeated BHS last week 25-9, 25-23. Are the Railers up to this early-season test, which might have a possible replay at postseason time? Only they can show you.

Note to the team: By my calculations I think you owe several return "favors" from years past to schools in Normal, don't you, ladies? Let's see how polite you can be. GO, RAILERS!

Junior varsity and freshmen also continue to win

The Lady Railer junior varsity also came out of the Purple Raiders' gym with a third victory against no losses. The Railers combined good serving and net play by Jamie McFadden and Kate Schonauer with excellent net defense and offense provided by Ashley Meyrick to win the match 25-13, 25-22.

Not to be outdone, the Railer freshman squad, led by excellent serving from Corey Wendell as well as excellent net play from Abbie Feldman and Lindsey Coyne, brought home a 25-11, 25-23 victory. The Lady Railer freshmen also stand at 3-0.

[Rick Hobler]

Respond to the writer at rhobler@lccs.edu.

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