The beauty of constructing a mental scrapbook is there's no physical limitation to the number of entries.
Here's hoping the six senior members of the Rock Falls volleyball team have sharp, long-term memories. Because their proverbial scrapbook's table of contents is longer than the cover-to-cover contents of many other teams' collections.
From the time Morgan Mammosser, Addesyn Nailor and Linsey Brown were 2, some 16 years ago, their families have been thick as thieves.
"Those girls are like my kids. I can't even begin to tell you the connection I have with them," Rock Falls coach Sheila Mammosser said. "Everything we did – we vacation together, we go out together, play dates, they went to school together – that bond has always been there."
One of Morgan's fondest memories is celebrating her 14th birthday with Nailor and Brown in Orlando, Florida – complete with a trip to Disney World, of course. Back then, adding a sectional-title page to the book seemed far-fetched.
"Oh my God, no," Morgan said after her Rockets swept Dunlap at Mendota High School on Thursday. "I never pictured us actually going to supersectionals in my senior year."
But so often great feats begin as pipe dreams.
"I've always dreamed of it, and I've always wanted to go to state. Now it's actually in our reach," Morgan said. "And I would not change the group of girls I'm playing with in any way.
"I love them to death. They're my sisters."
An ominous figure looms, eager to close the book on the Rockets' dream of their season ending at Redbird Arena on the Illinois State campus in Normal.
Champaign Centennial, which boasts two Division-I recruits and five players 6-foot-1 or taller, dismantled a Metamora squad that's won 30 games in five of its last six seasons, 25-10, 25-16 in the U-High Sectional final, about a half-mile from ISU's campus.
The Chargers feature seniors Kara Johnson, a 5-10 outside hitter committed to the University of Illinois-Chicago, and Rachel Jones, a 6-foot middle blocker who will brave Missouri Valley Conference competition starting next fall at Bradley University.
But the Rockets also have four players 5-10 or taller, and their calling card is defense. Even middle blocker Jordan Giddings sacrificed her 6-1 body Thursday night, diving to dig up a ball. And with freshman phenom Bailey O'Brien packing some punch into the starting lineup, the Rockets like their chances.
Especially if they have some fun and take a look around before the match begins, to remember who they're playing with.
"Of course we're going to be nervous," Cierra Wilder, a 5-11 senior middle hitter said Thursday. "But we can't play too uptight, because that's when it goes downhill for us. We have to play with confidence and have fun out there – be relaxed, smiling, giggling – if we want to keep this going."
Class 3A Galesburg Supersectional
Rock Falls (29-10) vs. Champaign Centennial (35-4)
When: 6 p.m.
Where: Galesburg High School
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