Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another Season

Last week the kids and I went up to their cousins' volleyball match.  My sister is the Panthers' head coach, and this lovely girl is my goddaughter.  Sammie is a captain and starting setter too!
Sammie and my other niece Dani are both seniors on the team.  Since this was a playoff match, you know what that means--one (loss) and done.  So a lot was on the line here. 
Here you can see Dani and Sammie playing together in the back row.  Dani did a great job digging up a lot of balls, and Sammie was all over the court with her assists, blocks, and hits.
This is a very close-knit bunch, as you may have guessed.  I think there were only eleven girls on the entire team, including my niece Rheann who is a sophomore.  This photo was taken after the Panthers had just dropped two games to Belleville.  Since it is best of 5, they were looking at possible elimination in Game 3.  I was sooo proud of how calm and confident Sammie stayed, encouraging her teammates to keep pressing on. 
Since we've already established that I am not a sports photographer, you just missed a great set and spike by our team.  Sammie looks pretty happy!! They ended up winning Game 3 AND Game 4 to even the score!  Way to go, Panthers!!
Just another one of Sammie's great sets.  Since I was a setter in high school, I can really appreciate how great her sets are.  And when she can't get her fingertips on the ball, Sam knew how to pass it or dink it over the net.   She is very smart about every aspect of the game.  Yes, I am biased.  But I can tell you without batting an eye that Samantha is the BEST high school setter I've ever seen play the game live.
Game 5 was back and forth.  I could feel the emotion of my sister, the coach.  Marla puts a lot of time and effort into the volleyball program, and she does a lot of little "extras" to build relationships among kids.  They did not want to let her down.
At one point during the evening, Sammie hurt herself going after a ball.  It choked me up to see her cousin Dani run out to hug her and see how she was doing.  Such a special duo!
The Panthers lost Game 5 after much back-and-forth volley.  We waited a long while to see and console the girls and my sister.  Another sad ending to a fine sports season.  It was good to see some of my family there, including my sister who traveled a few hours south to see this (and Sam's older sister Kaycie who is a sophomore at UW-LaCrosse).  Nobody wanted it to end this way, but they definitely played hard with some very bright spots.
Great season, girls!  Proud of you!  Somewhere down the line, you will see the benefits!

Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and wondrous things you do not know. - Jeremiah 33:3


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