In a rare Saturday match, the Lincoln
Lady Railers volleyball squads refused to let the Blue Devils of
Quincy High School "possess" a victory at Roy S. Anderson gymnasium.
Instead the JV and the varsity squads both won hard-fought two-game
matches. The JV won its match by scores of 28-26 and 25-20. The
varsity matches stretched to 25-21 and 25-20 before the day was
over. The wins keep the JV ladies undefeated and improve the varsity
record to 15-2-1 overall.
The varsity victory centered around the
consistently excellent serving of Samantha Conrady and Maria Benitez
as well as the net dominance of Michelle McFadden. McFadden led the
team with 10 kills and three blocks and was virtually unstoppable on
the front row. She also led the team with 11 digs, as she was
consistently the target of Quincy's serves. Sam was, once again, on
a roll from the service line, as she totaled a team-high 11 service
points, including two aces. Maria Benitez was not far behind, as she
also repeated her excellent performance from the Taylorville match
and garnered seven service points. Brooklyn Robbins was, as always,
tireless in her setting responsibilities.
In Game 1 the Railers started out
quickly, almost gave it away and then came roaring back at the end.
After an early 1-1 tie the Railers stayed out in front of the Blue
Devils almost the entire game. But, just like in any other sport,
being ahead most of the game just isn't that helpful unless you
finish. Early game serving and net play by the Railer "towers,"
Conrady and McFadden, led the home team to be up by a score of 10-5.
The Railers then suffered a mid-game
lapse that almost cost them the game. A combination of successful
"quick sets" by QHS and some long, misguided missilelike kills that
went out for the Railers brought the score to just 18-17 Lincoln.
Timeout for discussion, called by coach Howe.
After the timeout the Lincoln ladies
responded, but so did Quincy. The two teams traded points, and at
19-21 in favor of QHS, coach Howe requested a further discussion at
the Railer bench. Immediately after the second timeout, Quincy shot
itself in the foot by serving into the net, bringing the Railers to
within a point. Then it was time for a senior to step up -- and she
did. Samantha Conrady proceeded to serve out the game with five
successive serves, including an ace. A nice block by Kendall Paulus,
a beautifully placed long "push" to the back corner by Brooklyn
Robbins and two McFadden kills and it was finished.
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Game 2 was a seesaw battle where
neither team seemed to be able to shake the other. The QHS strategy
seemed to change in Game 2, as they became more aggressive on the
net attempting to block the Railer front line. Once the Lady Railers
figured that out, some soft dinks over the blocks and some deep
pushes to the back row caused Quincy to back off the net. When the
Blue Devils backed off, LCHS decided that payback was only fair and
began doing some nice blocking of their own. Paulus, McFadden and
Conrady all got critical blocks. Two of Conrady's blocks came on
Maria Benitez serves and gave the Railers 19 points and 21 points
compared with 16 for the Blue Devils. Benitez had six of her service
points in Game 2 alone. Mel Boyer and Conrady finished out the
Railer serving, and with a McFadden "clear the floor, unless you
want to get hurt" kill, the game and the match were in the books.
The Railers seem to be slowly picking
up their intensity and consistency as each match goes by. Those are
good things. LCHS will need all of both of these traits, as well as
some more "from-the-gut passion" as they head into October for the
following exciting challenges: four total conference matches that
WILL decide the Central State Eight champions, a weekend tournament
at Moline and two more road trips to the less-than-friendly confines
of Normal Community High School and Jacksonville High School.
This is the time period where we
separate the women from the girls, champions from the "also rans."
It's the home stretch to the postseason. For each match, each game,
each point -- bring it all to the floor and leave it all there. It's
the stuff great memories are made of.
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