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Friday, Sept. 15

Lady Railers take one from Urbana

LCHS gets back to .500               Send a link to a friend

By Rick Hobler

[SEPT. 15, 2006]  It was a game of "oohs" and "aahs."

In the end the Railers prevailed.

Between two challenging tournament weekends, the Lady Railers volleyball squad sandwiched in a match against a potential postseason foe, the Tigers from Urbana. The Railers had a tougher time than I would have anticipated putting away their less-talented opponent, but they eventually came away with the victory by scores of 25-22 and 25-20.

With my writing time limited today, due to my "day job," let me make just a few unsolicited observations.

Sitting in the stands, it was clear from the crowd reaction that Jamie McFadden won the "wow" award for the evening. Statistically Jamie had nine volleyball kills, defined as a hit from the net that scores a point for the home team. But Jamie also had a few "actual kills" against Urbana. "Actual kills" are defined by me as hits that knock down, knock out or cause the opposing players to flee for the exits when you swing at the ball. Urbana got to experience that feeling repeatedly last night from the talented Ms. McFadden.

And while Jamie got the "wow" award, I would give the "quiet but very effective" awards last night to the two Ashleys on the team. Ashley Bonaparte was largely the reason for the effective Railer net play last night. I thought "B" calmly and deliberately mixed up the sets to her team's hitters, allowing those hitters to score points for the Railers. Ashley has the athletic ability to get to her setting spot, assess the defense on the opposite side of the net as well as her available hitters, and then make good choices as to where the set should go. "B" also contributed four kills, five defensive digs and several service points. I am personally ready for "B" to step up and "be" the emotional floor leader that the Lady Railers need to succeed this year. I know she's capable… I am waiting to see if she is willing.

The other Ashley, Ashley Meyrick, was very effective at the net, with five recorded blocks and four kills, as well as doing some nice serving when she rotated to the back line. Given Meyrick's presence in the middle, along with that of the talented Natalie Boward, and with Lindsey Coyne waiting in the wings to show her stuff, the Railers are blessed with some deep rotation possibilities at the middle hitter-blocker position.

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The Lady Railers improve to 3-3-2 overall with last night's victory.

The varsity Railers move on to East Peoria this weekend to play in their second successive weekend tournament. This weekend should give the varsity a good indication of where they are as a team. The Railers then play an unusual Monday night match at Mount Zion and begin CS8 Conference play on Tuesday at Taylorville.

Go, Railers!

Junior varsity improves to 3-2

With a tough weekend ahead of them at the Jacksonville tournament, the junior varsity Lady Railers were hoping for a good warm-up match Thursday against Urbana. They got a little more than they bargained for but pulled off the win 25-18, 25-23 against a scrappy Urbana team.

Coach Crawford apparently sensed, in advance, that the Railers could pull off the victory and turned the girls loose to do some unusual serving. The crowd got to witness some fine jump serving by Laura Aughenbaugh, Amy Kelley and Hannah McShane, primarily. Hilary Hobler, Felicia Jackson and Hannah Sheley all had good nights at the net.

The Railers struggled a bit at the end of game two and found themselves behind 21-22. Urbana took care of that slump by making three successive mistakes to end the game and the match at 25-23 in favor of LCHS.

The junior Lady Railers improve to 3-2 overall and head to Jacksonville all weekend for a challenging tournament there. Other teams at the JHS tournament will be Normal Community, Wheaton St. Francis, Belleville East and West, Nerix Hall, and Champaign Central. The tournament starts Friday night at 5 and continues on Saturday at 9 a.m.

Go, Railers!

[Rick Hobler]

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