Friday, Valpo came into the gym with some anger behind their eyes. Last time we were matched with Valpo we were in Valparaiso and we beat them three games to none. Valpo came in ready for a battle, and a battle we played. Unfortunately, we could not stop the Crusaders and the came out with a L three games to one. Rachel and Julie lead the team in kills each having 14 or more but our team 36 errors put up a bit of a roadblock for us on the offensive side.
We brushed off the loss and came back into the gym Saturday afternoon ready to play in our last conference home game. A great way to start the game was honoring lone senior Rachel Neuberger, who had 13 kills on the match against UIC and we swept the Flames in three, once more. Neuberger not only grabbed a handful of kills but blocks as well. There was even a play were the ball never came back on the Panthers side because Rachel refused to let it, and after three of four blocks she fearlessly ended the rally with a solo block, and the crowd went wild.
This win over UIC puts us currently at 10-1. We were tied for first place for only about less than 24 hours due to Valpo losing to Green Bay Saturday afternoon, which put us back into first place a game ahead of current number 2 Valpo.
The Panther family met again on Sunday afternoon for the Senior Banquet where Kleenexs were a must. A great celebration filled with season highlights and a hilarious video of Susie mic'd up had the whole restaurant laughing. Some fellow teammates shared meaningful thoughts and stories of their time at Milwaukee with Rachel and then she gave an outstanding speech herself.
Rachel is a great person and athlete. It has been more than a pleasure watching her play the last three years I have been so lucky to be a part of this program. The great news is that this season is far from over, we still have three road matches left, a conference tournament to win, and then a first round NCAA match to win, and I have no doubt in my mind Rachel will help lead the Panthers to many more victories before her time here ends.
Until next time...
"A successful team is a group of many hands but of one mind." -Bill Bethel