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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Seniors say farewell

Lincoln falls to Chatham in CS8 finale          Send a link to a friend

By Rick L. Hobler

[October 17, 2007]  Senior night is always bittersweet.

Tuesday night it was doubly so.

Coming off a great second-place effort in the Bradley-Bourbonnais Tournament last weekend, the Lincoln Lady Railers came home hoping to do equally well in the Central State Eight conference finale. Unfortunately, especially for the seniors, they weren't able to do so.

At Bradley on Saturday, the Lady Railers bounced back from an opening match loss in pool play to defeat good teams from Manteno, Eastland Lenark and Washington to bring home second-place honors. Lincoln was not able to overcome an excellent Moline team who took home the title. The Lady Railers improved to 18-13.

With such a determined effort at Bradley, the Railers appeared ready to challenge the undefeated Glenwood Titans for first place. And while the Railers put up a fight in both games, especially game two, it was mostly all Chatham and Hannah Werth, all night.

In game one, Chatham worked from consistent play by their star player, Hannah Werth, to pull away from the home team for a 25-16 win. The Lady Railers played relatively even with the Titans until around 8-8. The Railers could not side-out and suddenly found themselves down 8-13. The Railers could get no closer than 12-16, where they got stuck. At 12-21 the Railers finally got a kill from Abbie Feldman to get to 13-21, but it was too little, too late. A Hannah Werth kill abruptly ended the matter.

In game two, the Lady Railers jumped out to a hefty lead, let the Titans back in and then couldn't finish the deal. As the second game began, it looked like the Railers might force a three-game night. Lincoln jumped out to a 7-3 lead when Glenwood took a timeout to discuss the situation. Whatever Chatham's coach Sample said to his team, it soaked in three points later as the Railer lead grew to 10-3. The Titans rallied back to tie the game at 10-10, and Lincoln's coach Howe called her own meeting in the huddle. The teams battled back and forth for the points between 10 and 20. The Railers got to 22 on a kill from Hilary Hobler and to 23 on one from Jamie McFadden, but could get no further. With the scoreboard showing a 23-23 tie, Werth finished what she started, with two successive monster kills, and handed the Railers their second conference loss of the year with a game score of 25-23.

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Chatham Glenwood ends up as the undefeated conference champions at 7-0. The Railers end conference play at 5-2. Depending on who's talking, that leaves the Railers either in a tie for second with SHG or in third, one game back (according to some form of "new math" that is taught at SHG). At this point it seems like a "who cares" item, since neither LCHS nor SHG is going to get first no matter how you figure it.

The Railers end their regular season with a trip to Peoria Central High School on Thursday night. They then will begin preparation for what everyone hopes is a successful postseason run. The Railers begin their postseason in Decatur and, if that goes well, then head to Chatham for potential rematches with SHG and Chatham Glenwood. It is one-and-done time, ladies.

Thanks for four great years of hard work, seniors! Thank you, Jamie, for being a leader. Thank you, Myrk, for being a competitor. Thank you, Abbie, for being energetic and determined. Thank you, Lindsey, for quietly being motivational and motivated. Thank you, Ashley, for just "B-eing" you. Your No. 11 stands for two No. 1s in my book. Thank you, Bridgette, for being both determined and hilarious.

To the team, I would say: Put last night's match behind you and work to get to a rematch with your two conference losses in a couple of weeks at sectionals. Overlook no one trying to get there. Best of luck in the postseason! Remember that old sports idiom: "The harder you work, the luckier you get."


[Rick L. Hobler]

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