Chill drop playoff opener
Injuries take their toll
By Bob Brown
Maybe the Minnesota Chill should have been at Mayo Clinic Sunday instead of Mayo Civic Auditorium. When their lineup was introduced, Brandy Barratt and Denise Boylan limped on to the court, both with knee injuries. Then it was Kate Fitzgerald and Lindsay Henning who came out, one nursing an ankle sprain and the other an injured shoulder. None of the four was able to play in the first match of the best-of-five United States Professional Volleyball championship series against the Chicago Thunder. Henning, a starting opposite hitter, has been sidelined most of the season. The other three are more recent casualties.
Once the Chill got their starters on the court, they had only two able-bodied reserves on the bench.
The Chill did go out and beat Chicago 25-14 in the first game, but lost the last three games and the match.
"It was funny to look at the two teams and see us with two subs and them with six," said Chill outside hitter Mary Coleman. Of the three recently injured Chill players, Barratt was the only starter. Lydia Gard, playing in only her third match of the season, replaced her at a middle blocker position. She had nine points, including eight kills, in Sunday's match.
"Lydia really did a good job," Coleman said, "but to play under adversity like this says a lot about the character of this team."
Game story, Page 6D