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updated: 10/29/2013 10:03 PM

Benet takes first step on road to state

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By Mike Krizman
Daily Herald Correspondent

Benet took the first step toward defending its state title.

The two-time defending Class 4A champion Redwings overcame a determined Plainfield East squad to earn a 25-13, 26-24 victory over the 15th-seeded Bengals in the Plainfield East regional semifinals Tuesday evening.

Benet (31-5) will play in Thursday night's regional final against No. 8 Lockport.

After breezing through the first game, Plainfield East stayed with Benet in Game 2, eventually taking a 4-point lead late in the contest.

"We won the first game pretty easily and sometimes you take that for granted because you think the second game is going to be just as easy," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "We were playing a team on their home court with a lot of seniors, so you knew they were going to come out strong."

The Redwings totaled 12 kills in Game 1 en route to the 25-13 victory, but the Bengals kept the score close in Game 2, overcoming a 7-2 deficit and taking a 12-9 lead after a kill by MacKenzi Welsh.

Plainfield East eventually held an 18-15 lead, which led to Baker calling a timeout. After an ace by Welsh put her team up 19-15, The Redwings settled down and began connecting on their attack attempts.

Welsh followed with a service error and Benet's Rachel Fara and Whitney Battoe each tallied a kill to cut the Bengals lead down to 19-18.

With the score tied 20-20, Benet took the lead back on a kill by Ashley Hitchcock, followed by a Plainfield East attack error and another kill by Fara, putting the Redwings up 22-20.

The Bengals tied the game at 24-24 when the Redwings were unable to play an over serve by Kat Freebern.

Griffin, however, tallied the last two kills for the Redwings.

Benet picked up the match point when Sara Nielson saved a Bengals attack attempt from going out of bounds and got the ball to Stephanie Sinnappan, who set Griffin for the final point.

Fara was quick to praise her teammates, especially outside hitters Hitchcock, Battoe and Griffin, who combined for 15 kills on the night.

"(Plainfield East) was doing a good job of blocking me, but what that does is open up our pin hitters," she said. "We have enough confidence in our pin hitters that they're able to just swing away and finish off the match."

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