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updated: 9/12/2013 9:57 PM

Benet slides by Batavia

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By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

Benet is the two-time defending Class 4A girls volleyball state champions for a reason.

They never beat themselves.

Thursday night in Batavia, the Redwings came and conquered once again for the eighth time in nine matches this season.

Batavia hardly looked like a .500 team, but the Bulldogs could not contain either Tiffany Clark or Stephanie Sinnappan in dropping the non-conference match 25-19 and 25-20 at home.

In a volleyball match striking for its lack of mistakes, Benet prevailed in both sets on the basis of its offense.

"We want to be in matches where the other team is earning points," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "It was a good match on both sides."

Of the 44 points scored in the opening set, there were but 7 hitting errors.

The teams combined for 33 kills in the opening game, 28 in the nightcap.

Sinnappan had 10 kills in the opening set alone.

"Every team is playing their best against us," said Sinnappan, who resides in Lisle. "Our whole team has the mentality to swing and get a kill."

Batavia (5-6) enjoyed an early first-set lead courtesy of a Lauren Wazio ace, but Benet junior Rachel Fara was the centerpiece of a 5-point Redwings run that swung the lead of the visitors for Lisle for the rest of the set.

Sinnappan had back-to-back-to-back kills to extend the Benet lead to 13-7, and the spread would essentially remain the same for the rest of the first set.

Batavia would ultimately cut the gap to 21-18 at one stage, but Benet (8-1) closed out the first set behind kills from Sinnappan and the game-winner from Ashley Hitchcock.

Benet scored 5 of the first 6 points to start the second set, and Batavia could never, no matter what Shea Stanley or Heather Meyer counteracted, find an equalizer.

The Bulldogs' duo combined for 14 kills, but Benet always had a response in some form.

Sara Nielsen had consecutive kills to extend the Redwings' second-set lead to 17-10.

"They're a great team," Meyer said. "Our defense struggled a little bit. (The Benet girls) are very smart players."

Meyer would lead a Batavia renaissance that cut the Benet lead to 18-16, but Clark had a pair of kills for the Redwings that retained the spread to 22-17 in favor of the guests.

Benet was the recipient of a rare Batavia hitting mistake to earn its 23rd point, and Sinnappan had the last of her match-high 12 kills to bring Benet to the brink of victory.

Stanley staved off match point for Batavia with her final kill, but the Redwings captured the match on the following miss-hit by the Bulldogs.

"Four of our losses have come to ranked teams," Batavia coach Lori Trippi-Payne said. "There was some good offense tonight."

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