Rosary learned Saturday what the rest of the Class 2A Nazareth sectional already knew: Benet has a very good girls soccer team.
The Redwings won the sectional championship with a dominating 3-0 victory over the young Royals (18-6) in LaGrange Park.
"I think you can see we have a pretty dynamic offense," Benet coach Bob Gros said. "Even though we didn't score in the second half, we definitely created offensively from every angle. Our defense definitely stepped it up. We worked very hard this week on defense. We're being a very direct defense right now. We're just putting them on their heels the best we can, and we're using our athletes up top.
"The other thing is we're such a deep team. I'm not just putting chumps in there. Poor Rosary, they had two subs I think during the course of the game."
Benet (18-3-4) scored in the fifth minute when right back Rachel Lovely stepped up and drilled a 28-yard shot into the back of the Rosary net.
"We love to get our two backs involved," the senior said, "me and Rachel Pavlinec on the outside, so we always go over in practice, if you see that alley just to take a touch and if you feel like you have a shot just to rip it because we don't get marked a lot being defenders, so it's really dangerous when we go up there."
"We attack from the wings, we attack central, but we also attack from the back, especially Rachel," Gros said. "She's a quality person that way."
The score went to 2-0 in the 11th minute when junior Meaghan O'Hara intercepted a Rosary header and used the outside of her right foot to slip a 7-yard shot into the net. Senior Jessica Smetana made it 3-0 when she stole the soccer ball from a defender and hit from 10 yards out.
"They've got I think 16 seniors or something crazy like that and they've been playing together for four years and you can tell," Rosary coach Kristy Kane said. "They're a great team, a great team. It stinks to lose, especially when you're at the farthest point your team has ever gone, but at least we lost against a great team."
Benet didn't score again, though it did hit the crossbar twice in the first two minutes of the second half. The Redwings had a big advantage in possession and launched 26 shots toward the Rosary goal. Benet freshman goalkeeper Emma Hlavin did not have to make a save on the only shot toward her goal.
"Rosary made good adjustments, and we had so many fresh players on the field, I can't say enough," Gros said. "They were taking a physical beating. We were shooting balls, they were blocking them. They're getting hit with balls. They did everything they possibly could, and I have a lot of respect for Kristy and what she's accomplished."
"We just came off a big win," Kane added, "and they were kind of happy just to have won that game to a degree. I think they were just happy to be here, and there's that intimidation factor, because Benet's a strong team."
Benet advanced to the Benedictine supersectional, a virtual home game, where it will meet archrival St. Francis at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"I can't wait," Lovely said. "I'm so excited. Francis and Benet have a rivalry that goes all the way back to basketball. We love packing the gym, so we love playing St. Francis, and the fact that we get to play them at (Benedictine) is such a blessing. We're so excited."