The Miracle Season: against almost impossible odds, girls’ volleyball team determines to ‘Win for Line’

April 15, 2018

‘The Miracle Season’ is not the typical sports movie – a male underdog team rising to the top against all odds – that Hollywood tends to put out. This movie is based on the inspiring true story of a championship girls’ volleyball team playing out a season in grief after losing their star player to a tragic accident.

Caroline ‘Line’ Found (Danika Yarosh) was an energetic, friendly high school senior who fearlessly embraced life and others. Her death left her best friend, father, coach and team in sorrow at the beginning of the 2011 volleyball season. Iowa City West High School had won the state volleyball championships the year before in 2010.

In real life, Line was killed Aug. 11, 2011 in a moped accident. Her mother followed her in death from cancer two weeks later, leaving Line’s father, Ernie in double heartache. Award-winning actor William Hurt played Ernie Found and did an exceptional job. And the producers seemed to follow the real-life story fairly accurately.

Award-winning actress Helen Hunt played Kathy ‘Brez’ Bresnahan, a tough – but caring, determined coach of few words. Coach Brez with Line’s best friend Kelley (Erin Moriarty), pull the devastated volleyball team together. Without Line, they were missing their captain.

After many games resulting in lose, the potential that Line had seen in her best friend Kelley is brought out and Kelley starts to lead the team in the midst of her grief. She is determined to ‘Win for Line’ and honor her best friend. ‘Win for Line’ becomes the team’s motto for that season and helps to give them the strength to begin to win games that season.

Line’s father, Ernie is a support to Kelley, Coach Brez and the volleyball team, sharing the healing emotional journey that he and the team is on through the miracle volleyball season.

Sean McNamara directed the film. He is known for directing some less well-known films such as, ‘Hoovey’, ‘Spare Parts’ and ‘Soul Surfer’. ‘Soul Surfer’ has a similar theme as ‘The Miracle Season’ – a tragedy happening to a young woman athlete and a struggle to victory in spite of the tragedy.

David Aaron Cohen and Elissa Matsueda wrote the screen play. Cohen is known for writing ‘Friday Night Lights’ which is also based on a true story of high school football team.

McNamara and the actors worked closely with Coach Brez, basing the movie on Bresnahan’s book ‘The Miracle Season’.

And according to, “[T]he actors were in touch with their character’s real-life counterparts throughout pre-production and filming, including Coach Bresnahan, who spoke often with both McNamara and Hunt. The actor recently revealed that the former volleyball coach has given Hunt’s performance her blessing, changes and all.”

Overall, though this film is about grief, ultimately there is hope and strength portrayed by the characters. People wanting to finally see a woman’s sports movie would enjoy this film.

“The Miracle Season”
3 out of 4 stars
Rated: PG
Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes
Cast: Helen Hunt, Erin Moriarty, Danika Yarosh and William Hurt
Director: Sean McNamara

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