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updated: 9/4/2013 10:12 PM

Benet buckles down defensively

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Tiffany Clark tracked down a ball ticketed for wood floor, laid out and punched a shot that somehow landed on the other side of the net.

It was a volleyball play that was so Benet.

The Redwings make gritty back-row effort look like such a thing of beauty.

No. 2 Benet's collection of defensive dandies were at their best Wednesday, extending rallies with a digging clinic in the Redwings' 25-19, 25-13 win over York in Lisle.

"We had a really good defense last year and we want to keep the tradition going," said Benet senior libero Caroline Wolf. "We have some great girls in the back row. We come out with the mentality that nothing hits the floor."

Wolf had 11 and Clark, a sophomore, 10 of Benet's 41 digs Wednesday. It's easy to see why defense is an area Benet (6-0) prides itself on.

At any time the Redwings may have four girls on the floor who are defensive specialists for their respective club teams, including Natalie Canulli -- an outside at Benet.

"There are times that we have three of the best defenders in the state on the court at the same time," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "Our girls love to play defense. They'd play defense for hours if they didn't have to go home and do homework."

Wolf, who will take her skills to Wake Forest next year, explained that court coverage and communication is key.

"If you want to see the court here, you have to be a good communicator," Wolf said. "We want to control the offense and put the ball in the right place to our setter. We can always improve but for the most part we're covering a lot of ground."

Wednesday was Benet's third meeting with York in six days. The Redwings twice beat the Dukes at the Benet Invite this past weekend, but needed to rally in three games to win the tournament final.

No drama was necessary here.

At 15-14 in the first game, Benet just about doubled York's point production the rest of the match.

"We weren't real happy with York's side out percentage the other day," Baker said. "We wanted to make sure it didn't happen again."

Benet was still without top middle Brittany Pavich, who went for an MRI on an ailing shoulder Tuesday. Balance was the name of the game in her absence.

Canulli started strong with 5 of her 7 kills in the first game, junior middle Rachael Fara later got it going with 6 kills and 2 blocks and outside Whitney Battoe had 5 of her match-high 9 kills in a hot stretch midway through the second game.

"We don't have one kid who can touch the 10-4 line that we can ride all the time," Baker said. "We have to be diverse to be successful."

York (3-4), with 6-footers Molly Schlecht, Amy Nosek and Elizabeth Pronove, showed strong defense at the net Saturday with 16 blocks. Nosek had 4 kills and Pronove 2 Wednesday.

Blocking, though, was sorely lacking Wednesday night -- much to the dismay of Dukes coach Patty Iverson.

"I didn't even know what team that was," Iverson said. "What we struggled at is what we worked on hardest the last two days, is blocking from the pin in. From there everything else fell apart. The blocking changed the whole game. We couldn't block to save our life.

"Benet, they're a nice team. They dig up a lot of balls and we were streaky."

Follow Josh on Twitter @jwelge96

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