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updated: 11/5/2013 9:36 PM

Waubonsie Valley can't stop Benet streak

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By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent

The Benet postseason winning streak in girls volleyball continues -- albeit not before surviving Waubonsie Valley Tuesday night in Plainfield.

The two-time defending Class 4A champion Redwings dominated the tiebreaker behind the superlative all-around play of Stephanie Sinnappan to turn back the Warriors 25-21, 24-26 and 25-13 in the first semifinal of the Class 4A Plainfield South sectional.

Waubonsie Valley, the fourth seed, had its season close at 30-8.

"This is my senior season," said Sinnappan, who had 4 of her 6 kills in the third set and handed Dana Griffin the last of her match-high 37 assists for match point. "We were not going to let anyone take this away from us. I had the mindset to be aggressive and take it home."

Sinnappan had the first of her third-game kills to give top-seeded Benet (33-5) the lead for good in the match.

Natalie Canulli engineered a critical service run for Benet, including a pair of aces, and Whitney Battoe had a kill and block on consecutive points during the stretch.

By the time Waubonsie Valley senior Rachel Minarick ended the run with one of her match-best 13 kills, the damage was irreparable.

Waubonsie Valley would come no closer than 8 points the remainder of the set, and the Benet arsenal of weapons told an unmistakable truth.

The Redwings' stockpile of powerful hitters simply wore the Warriors down.

"We may not have the best player on the court, but we want to have the best team," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "We have to be well-balanced."

Five different players combined for 38 kills in extending the Redwings' postseason winning streak to 17 matches.

Griffin had 9 kills to pace Benet, with Marja Cyvas and Rachael Fara added 8 apiece.

Ashley Hitchcock had 7 kills, with Sinnappan adding the aforementioned 6.

Wake Forest-bound libero Caroline Wolf had a simple message for her Benet teammates before the start of the third game.

"Don't let anything hit the ground," Wolf said.

The senior backed up her message personally, leading both teams with 25 digs.

Waubonsie Valley forced the decisive third game with a closing 6-1 run to reverse a 23-20 Benet lead.

Minarick, the Warriors' first Big Ten recruit, had her remarkable senior season come to an end.

The Michigan State-bound combined outside hitter and setter had a team-best 16 assists to augment her match-high in kills.

"We're a team with a lot of heart," Minarick said of her critical assist to Becky Breuer for the second-set clincher. "We knew we had to fight."

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