Girls volleyball: Benet's strong play sinks St. Charles East
It is no secret that Benet Academy possesses a strong volleyball team on an annual basis.
That is also a big part of the reason why St. Charles East coach Jennie Kull puts the Redwings on the Saints' schedule early in the season.
Relying on a team-oriented approach that included a 4-kill, 27-assist game from 6-foot junior setter Rachel Muisenga, Benet raised its record to 9-0 with an impressive 25-11, 25-16 nonconference victory over the Saints (5-4) Wednesday night in St. Charles.
"We're trying to be really good everywhere," said Benet coach Brad Baker, who guided the Redwings to a third-place Class 4A finish last season. "We have pretty high expectations to make a good play on every play -- not taking a play off."
The Redwings didn't take many plays off, scoring the first 4 points in the opening set before running off 7 straight points while building an insurmountable 22-8 advantage.
The run featured tip kills from Maeve Nelligan and Sophie Gregus, and a service ace and block kill from Muisenga.
"We have a lot of girls with experience and we've got a lot of smart players and powerful hitters," said Muisenga.
St. Charles East got off to a better start in the second set, taking its first lead of the match at 4-3 following a right-side kill from senior Rachel Sheehan (3 kills).
"I thought Rachel had a great game today on the right side," said Kull. "She blocked and did a real nice job out there."
Benet recovered quickly, tying it at 4-4 on a kill from junior Kyla Kenney (4 kills), grabbing a 5-4 lead on Colleen McGuire's tip kill and adding 4 more points to cap a 6-0 run and 9-4 lead.
"Last night (against Joliet Catholic), we played real well in the first (set) and then came out a little sluggish in the second," said Baker. "We came out fast (tonight) and St. Charles East played better in the second but I felt we came out and played strong in the second as well."
Benet extended its lead to 19-10 but the Saints narrowed the deficit to 22-15 on a tip kill from junior Anita Prybell before a block by Muisenga and kills from Ann Marie Remmes (4 kills) and Gregus (8 kills) sealed the deal.
"We came out strong and we didn't let them back in," said Muisenga. "We didn't give up a lot of runs."
Junior Skyler Misch paced the Saints with 5 kills, supported by juniors Nina Scoliere (7 digs, 10 assists), Kayla Daros (8 digs) and senior Emily Stallman (8 digs).
"I like to play them (Benet)," said Kull. "It helps us see where we're weak and what we need to do to get better."
Freshman outside hitter Kate Goudreau added a pair of kills in the second set for the Saints.
"We threw a freshman to the wolves today and she did a great job," said Kull. "I know that we're going to struggle in these games but we've got to do that to get better.
"It was good and it was meaningful."
McGuire had 5 kills for the Redwings.
"We knew that whatever happened in the first (set), they were going to come back strong in the second -- that's the type of program they (Saints) have," said Baker. "We want tough matches."