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updated: 11/1/2017 9:15 PM

Girls volleyball: Benet runs out of magic against Minooka

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By Phil Brozynski
Daily Herald Correspondent

Benet rediscovered the magic briefly in Game 1 of its Class 4A sectional championship match against Minooka on Wednesday at Waubonsie Valley.

Down 7-1 to start the match, Benet picked itself off the carpet to take an 18-17 lead on a kill by sophomore middle hitter Sophie Gregus.

Sadly, that was as good as it would get for the Redwings.

Minooka (37-2) closed the first set on an 8-2 run, then pulled away from an 11-11 tie in the second set to defeat Benet 25-20, 25-20.

Benet ended its season at 32-7. But it was the Redwings' start Wednesday that ultimately doomed the No. 2 seed.

"We needed to start really fast to try to put some pressure on them," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "To come back from a 7-1 deficit you have to side out at a super high rate. To our girls' credit, they came back and we sort of had them on the ropes.

"That's what we wanted to do," he added. "They were the favorites. We wanted the lead late to put some pressure on them and see how they reacted. They reacted extremely well. When they needed it, the (Allison) Papesh kid was ready to go."

Papesh had a match-high 11 kills for the Indians, including one to close out the first set. Holly Bonde and Rocky Perinar each had 7 for Minooka.

"Our goal was to come out strong like that because (Benet) is a very emotional team, very strong team, very, very good team, one of the best teams we've played all year," Minooka coach Carrie Prosek said.

"It was exciting to come out here like that against a consistently strong defensive and strong hitting team," she added.

Benet led briefly at 9-8 in the second set on a push shot to an open floor by junior setter Ally Van Eekeren. But Minooka countered with a 9-4 run aided by two Benet hitting errors, a net violation and a service error.

"We had a few balls drop here and there, hit the wrong shots and missed a serve here and there, but I think we played quite awesome," said Benet sophomore libero Hattie Monson. "I think we played the best we've ever played this whole year."

Claire Byrne led Benet with 10 kills and an ace. Lilly Johnson had 7 kills and a block, Taylor Van Eekeren contributed 11 assists and an ace, Ally Van Eekeren had 8 assists and 2 kills and Monson dug 13 balls.

Junior middle hitter Anna Paoni had 3 kills and freshman Racheal Muisenga added a pair for Benet.

"(The Indians are) a great team, but we came in prepared and we knew that we had to play every point like it was our last so we just went out fighting," Johnson said. "We had a lot of unforced errors. We should have fought harder and executed the little things better."

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