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Friday, Oct. 1


Lady Railers lose tough match to Sacred Heart-Griffin

A sports editorial by Rick Hobler          Send a link to a friend

[OCT. 1, 2004]  If you're like me, you have probably had people in your life who have told you that life's greatest lessons are learned through suffering loss. I have always "disliked" those people. But those people are probably right. And if such a statement is in fact true, then the Lincoln Lady Railers volleyball team suffered through more learning than they wanted to last night.

In a match that was tremendously well-played in every way by both teams, Lincoln and Sacred Heart-Griffin played three of the toughest games of volleyball you will see anywhere in high school athletics. Ultimately SHG prevailed 26-24, 23-25 and 28-26.

And if I took a couple of days before I wrote this article, I would probably say true things like: "It will be a great learning experience for the team"; "It will make them stronger for the rest of the season and the postseason"; or "It will build their character and toughness" (blah, blah, blah). But…

I don't have the luxury of waiting to write this, so all those pontifications sound pretty hollow right now. That being the case, all I can say for the Lincoln Lady Railers is: "Ouch… That really hurt." It hurts that they gave it their all and still came up short. It hurts because it may very well mean that there will be no CS8 championship for this year's team. It hurts because I could tell that a few Lady Railer players wrongly blamed themselves individually for the loss. It hurts… well, just because it does.

I could give the readers my usual play-by-play of the match, but I doubt that I could capture it accurately. If you were there, you know the kind of match it was and the several factors (including the one I am never supposed to mention for "fear" of having my good sportsmanship certificate taken away from me) that led to the Railer loss. On the other hand, if you weren't there, then you won't know.

Suffice it to say that both teams played tremendously well and hard and gave their all in the effort to win. Neither team ever quit, even though both teams could have at various points in the match. If it is truly "maximum effort" and not just winning that is to be rewarded above all else in high school athletics (and I believe it is), then both teams should be highly rewarded.

Erin Frick, Maria Benitez, Michi McFadden and Brooklyn Robbins each had a tremendous match. McFadden had an amazing and exhausting 22 kills. Frick had seven kills and six blocks. Brooklyn "tough as nails" Robbins had 39 assists, eight blocks and five service points, including two aces. Maria put the ball in play from the service line every time she was asked to and wound up with a team-high eight service points. Everybody on the floor contributed, but the team effort just fell short of what was needed to win.


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The Lady Railers will have to ask themselves several questions over the next few days and before they play their next match, like: "What went wrong?" or "Where can we improve?" The most important question will probably be: "Where do we go from here?"

My guess is that the Lady Railers will respond by correcting their mistakes, forgetting this loss and moving ahead to dominate teams in the second half of their regular season and in the postseason.

I for one would be hopeful that the IHSA postseason brackets would work out in such a way that a rematch between these two teams might be in store at Redbird. I would even pay to see a rematch anywhere… well, anywhere except for the SHG gymnasium.

The Lady Railers (especially the seniors) won't likely forget last night's "losing feeling," and if they don't forget, the rest of the season and the postseason, I predict, will go very well. Mostly because in volleyball (and life) you usually learn the most when you suffer a loss. Don't hate me for saying so.


* * *

JV pulls out another victory

Last night's preliminary match between the junior varsity squads of LCHS and SHG was also a nail-biter. The Railers dug themselves too deep a hole in game one, being down by as much as seven points at times. A comeback attempt brought the game even at 24-24 before SHG won game one by a score of 24-26. In game two, the same pattern developed as LCHS found itself down 10-16 before storming back to win 25-22. Game three was a back-and-forth affair throughout, but the Railers finally pulled out the game and the match with a game three score of 26-24. It looks like the ongoing battle between LCHS and SHG will continue in years to come. The junior varsity remains undefeated with a record of 10-0.

[Rick Hobler]

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