It was a busy day for this sports reporter on Wednesday, September 11. A double duty day of Trailblazer coverage, as I first watched the women’s soccer team square off with Heartland CC, then hustled over to Riverbend Arena to watch the volleyball team in their very first home match of the season, hosting Frontier CC.
Women’s Soccer: Trailblazers 10, Heartland 1
Like many games this season for the Trailblazers, this one didn’t take long to be decided. Heartland actually scored first, and for the first time this season watching this team I thought that the Trailblazers had met their match. Before I could even finish that thought however, Boitumelo Rabale marched through a near stationary Heartland defense and slotted home to equalize. Heartland had merely woken up a sleeping giant.
Not even a minute following the equalizer, B (Rabale’s nickname amongst fans and an intense shortening of her first name, Boitumelo) had netted again. Heartland looked shaken. Many teams that have faced Lewis and Clark don’t know about B until they see her during warm ups, and then the next time they see her, she’s running past them and making their goaltender look foolish.
The Trailblazers would go on to score a total of six goals in the first twenty-one minutes of that game, highlighted by a hat trick from Rabale, and a beautiful, curling, long-range effort from Carolynn Smith that has to be an LC goal of the season candidate. Like their previous games, the offense had no problem slicing and dicing a Heartland defense that wasn’t prepared for the movement and passing of the Trailblazer women.
For good measure, Boitumelo Rabale and Emma Lucas each added a pair of second half goals. Rabale providing five goals total in the match, one of her best offensive performances of a season full of them. She continues to be one of the top offensive soccer players at any collegiate level, her goals and assist numbers are among the highest of any college playing soccer in the nation.
The women’s soccer team’s next action is on the road against Kaskaskia on September 18.
Volleyball: Lewis and Clark 3, Frontier 0
Bron Wilkerson’s Trailblazer volleyball team had the privilege of hosting the first sporting event on the beautiful new hardwood court inside the still under construction Riverbend Arena. Something about a hardwood court makes a gym look, feel, and sound better, the freshly stained wood, the big Blazer on center court, the sound of a volleyball player skidding across the floor diving for a ball. So naturally, the Trailblazers were out to impress.
Unlike the women’s soccer team that’s been so dominant to start their campaign, Wilkerson’s Trailblazers have yet to really impose their might on the opponents across the net from them. They made progress to bucking that trend with a comprehensive victory over Frontier CC, their first 3-0 win of the season.
“The girls are starting to get it and starting to gel together,” Said head volleyball coach Bron Wilkerson after Wednesday’s game. “They’re starting to leave themselves a bit, which is what we’re striving for.”
After a somewhat shaky start, the Trailblazers dug themselves out of an early hole to handily win the first game, 25-15. Wilkerson noted that there was excitement in the air, being the first home game and the first game on the new floor at Riverbend Arena. “Couldn’t have a loss here” added the coach post-game.
LC maintained control through much of the remainder of proceedings, winning the second game 25-19 and the third 25-17. They held a lead for the majority of the match, keeping Heartland at an arm’s length from ever really posing a threat down the stretch.
“(Everything worked) once they settled down and got their rhythm. Once we’re passing good, things go good.” said Wilkerson.
After spending the majority of the start of the season on the road, and only just playing their first home game in mid-September, the Trailblazer volleyball squad goes back on the road to St. Louis to face Missouri Baptist.