Benets Van Eekeren wins 500th
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Moments before Benet closed its two-game sweep of Oswego East, an announcement was made asking all fans to remain seated following the conclusion of the match.
The Redwings enjoyed a 25-8, 25-12 victory against the Wolves in the season opener for both schools Wednesday evening, but it was significant for another reason — the win marked Benet coach Amy Van Eekeren's 500th victory.
"It's an exciting accomplishment," said Van Eekeren, who started coaching at Naperville Central in 1997 before she left to start Benet's boys volleyball program in 2006. "I have (coached) for the fun of it. My coaches always said give back to the sport. It's so much fun to watch the kids grow and develop."
There was plenty for Van Eekeren to enjoy about the Redwings' first match, especially the serving. Benet (1-0) finished with 16 aces. Senior Sawyer Yeazel, a three-year starter, led the Redwings with 9 aces and teammate Michael Jurkash added 5 aces. Yeazel served Benet to 10 straight points during the first game.
"It is a new serve that I was trying out to see if it works," Yeazel said. "I usually stay down and I just decided to jump and it worked, so I think I'm going to stick with it. My goal was to just look at the ball and focus on the ball — not worry about anything else."
Van Eekeren raved about Yeazel's leadership and hopes it helps this group gel.
"We graduated a lot of seniors from last year's 28-9 team, but we brought back players who provide a lot of experience and have shown a great deal of commitment to the team," Van Eekeren said. "We also have an influx of talent, and the challenge right now is to get it all to mesh together."
One new face was freshman setter Ben Mazza, who appeared to be in control of the Benet attack.
"He has some great hands and is very, very talented," Van Eekeren said. "Mazza is so poised and so in control. He brings a lot of charisma out on the floor."
Yeazel's strong serving and the Oswego East's inability to consistently pass was a recipe for disaster for the young Wolves (0-1).
"The boys didn't give up and that was good to see," Oswego East coach Christy Landschoot said. "A lot of players were able to see a lot of action tonight. We have some things to work on, but it's early and we have time to improve."
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