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Wednesday, Sept. 29

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Lady Railers improve to 18-1. Crucial matches ahead.

By Rick Hobler

[SEPT. 29, 2004]  Nineteen matches played.

Eighteen matches won. So far, so good.

The Lincoln Lady Railer volleyball team is pleased… so far.

But, the Lady Railers are far from satisfied about their future.

Last night's match against the Chatham Glenwood Titans would fall in the category of "pleased so far." The Lady Railers' pre-game and game attitude was almost "giddy" as the team returned to play at home for the first time in almost a month. From the time the home team was announced, using "humorous nicknames" (coaches' nicknames were unfortunately omitted), to the final point of the match not long afterward, the team was in a celebration mode. Perhaps it was the joy of being 17-1 or just the joy of playing at home again after weeks on the road or maybe it was a moment of "peace" before the upcoming storm. Whatever the reason, last night the Lady Railers simply just had fun as they dominated the Titans 25-10, 25-15. The scores do not accurately reflect the overpowering nature of the win.

In game one, for instance, of the Titans' 10 points, each point except one was due to an unforced error committed by the Railers. In game two, while Glenwood had a few more earned points, those points were partially due to the liberal substitutions made by the Railers in hopes of getting almost everybody some playing time. For all intents and purposes the Railers dominated the entire match.

Once again Brooklyn Robbins ran the show with skill and toughness. With several teammates to set to on any given point, Brook spread the ball around beautifully, giving Glenwood very few chances to set up blocks. When she wasn't setting, she was blocking (team-high four blocks) and serving (two aces) well. And even though the game was a blowout, Brook kept her focus throughout. A focused setter equals a focused team.

Michi McFadden was, well… untouchable. The one Glenwood player who tried probably has bruises to show for it today. The rest of Michi's kills left scorch marks in the LCHS floor as they hit without being touched by anyone. Much of this was due to great placement. Sometimes it was due to opposing players fleeing to get out of the way. For the night, Michi had 12 kills, and most every one of them was memorable. When she rotated to the back row there was no letup in her play either. Michi finished the night with eight service points, including one ace, and three defensive digs.

When McFadden wasn't dominating the front line, the rest of her teammates were. Megan Hoffert, Julie Fults and Kate Schonauer each added four decisive kills to help bring home the Railer victory. Erin Frick continues to send opponents' kills right back at them with her middle blocking skills. At the service line, Maria Benitez and Mel Boyer continued doing the major damage. Maria knocked down nine consistently good serves, and Mel jump-served eight additional bullets at the Titans. All in all the Railers were just too much for the Titans to handle. Celebration duly held.


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Now, about the Railers' yet "unmet satisfaction" in the immediate future.

Satisfaction would mean:

  • Repeating as Central State Eight Conference champions.
  • Winning the Class AA IHSA state volleyball championship.
  • Getting some more respect for themselves and the program.

Satisfaction is going to have to be earned over the next 46 days.

Standing in the way of "satisfaction" are, most notably, teams named Sacred Heart-Griffin, Normal Community and Jacksonville, as well as unnamed teams from the regional, sectional, supersectional and state tournament matches. Satisfaction can also be denied by teams with less talent, but only if the Railers take any of them for granted.

The future begins Thursday night at the unfriendly confines of Sacred Heart-Griffin. SHG looks to avenge last year's loss to Lincoln and, more importantly, to place itself in the driver's seat for the conference championship. Thursday's match will be one of two keys to the conference championship. The second key will come at home against Jacksonville on Oct. 12.

Since my past pleas for student fan support at away matches have gone largely unheeded, I won't ask again. But what Railer volleyball fan would want to miss this?

SHG will undoubtedly throw everything they have at the Railers tomorrow night. The Railers will have to start throwing first and not let up. Every point will have to be played like it is match point.

Will the Railers get satisfaction? It's up to them. GO, RAILERS!

* * *

JV wins in overtime

Except for a collapse at the end of game two, the Lady Railer junior varsity played well enough to win its ninth match of the season last night against the Glenwood Titans. The JV, now 9-0, won the first game of the match 25-21 and was comfortably ahead in game two until the breakdown came, forcing a three-game match. The game two score was 27-29. In game three the Railers pulled out early and finished off the Titans 15-7. Ashley Meyrick, Ashley Bonaparte and Jamie McFadden had notable performances for the Lady Railers.

[Rick Hobler]

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