Benet girls volleyball rallies to win Wheaton Classic Championship
Benet Academy returned to the Wheaton Classic Championship Match Saturday at Wheaton Warrenville South for the first time since 2019.
After dropping the first set to Lyons Township, 25-17, the Redwings rallied to take the next two sets to win the first-place trophy on Saturday, its fifth Wheaton Classic title in the past 10 years.
"After the first set, we told each other that we just needed to play our game," said sophomore libero Aniya Warren." We didn't want a frantic game, we just wanted to be calm and make something happen and focus on our side."
Benet only led once in the first set at 3-2. After a brief Lyons lead, the Redwings tied in at 5-5. Lyons retook the lead and gradually pulled away.
"Lyons played great in the first set. They put a lot of pressure on us. We need to play better and take care of the ball better," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "So we flipped it and put a lot of pressure on them and that was the difference."
The Lions scored the first point of the second set on a Grace Turner kill. Benet went on a 9-2 run to take a 9-3 lead. Lyons staged a comeback and pulled with 2, 9-7.
An Ava Novak (10 kills, 9 digs) strike returned the momentum to Benet. Late in the set, the Lions rallied again and tied the match at 20 all on a Redwing hitting error. They tied it again at 24. Back-to-back kills by Kirsten Krammer (7 kills) and Novak won it for Benet, 26-24.
The third set began as back-and-forth battle. Lyons tied it at 5-5 on an Abby Markworth ace (8 digs, 23 assists). But after that point, it was all Benet. The Redwings closed out the match on a 20-5 run.
"The last match was very disappointing for us. I was so proud of the way we played throughout the day, even though the first two sets of this match," Lyons coach Jill Bober said. "It was disappointing for us both mentally and physically. For whatever reason, we were unable to compete."
Gabija Staniskis tallied 9 kills for Benet, while teammate Audrey Asleson earned 35 assists and 12 digs. Warren contributed 20 digs
Lyons' Grace Brennan had a match-high 12 kills. Teammates Kamryn Lee-Caracci tallied 11 kills and Kiley Mahoney notched 14 digs.
Markworth, Lee-Caracci and Warren were all named to the all-tournament team.
Marist took third place, edging out Lincoln Way East. St. Charles North finished in fifth place.
IC Catholic Prep took top honors in the Silver Bracket, which featured the second-place finishers in pool play. The Knights topped Wheaton North, 25-14, 25-19.
IC coach Nancy Kerrigan credited good team discipline for earning the Silver Bracket first place Trophy.
"Just really good ball control. We did real well passing and played great defense," Kerrigan said. "We didn't let a lot of balls hit the floor. We kept a lot of balls alive which I think surprised the other teams."