Benet Volleyball Wins Autumnfest Tournament!
Benet’s girls are going to need a spare closet for all their tournament champion T-shirts.
Nine straight tournament titles. A 45-match tournament win streak. One impressive run.
The Redwings three-peated at Glenbard East’s Autumnfest on Saturday in Lombard, beating Mother McAuley 26-24, 25-16 in the championship match.
Tournament MVP Sheila Doyle had 10 digs, Brittany Pavich 8 kills, Rachael Fara and Nicki Barnes 5 and Abby Willett 4 — including match point — for Benet (31-2), who hasn’t lost a tournament match since the 2010 Mizuno Cup final against Joliet Catholic. Senior setter Hannah Kaminsky, who has never lost a tournament match in high school, dished out 27 assists.
“It’s unbelievable — we’re so lucky,” Doyle said. “Some teams don’t even get to be at this point. We’ve worked really hard and it’s paid off.”
Like it did in all three of its matches Saturday, Benet got stronger as the match progressed.
The Redwings trailed throughout a close first set against McAuley, taking its first lead since 1-0 at 22-21 on a Cara Mattaliano block. The two teams played to three more ties, until Mattaliano’s kill off a block got Benet to set point up 25-24. A McAuley hitting error ended it.
Earlier in the day, Benet dropped its first set in tournament matches this year, against Joliet Catholic in the semis. The Redwings roared back for a 21-25, 25-5, 25-19 win, after beating Crystal Lake South 25-20, 25-12 in the quarterfinals.
“We knew we were going to play three matches today and be here for how many hours,” Benet coach Brad Baker said. “We wanted to play our best ball at the end.”
Both teams intentionally float-served short throughout the championship match to take away their opponents’ middle and make it a pin-player game, but that didn’t stop Pavich from stepping up late. Leading 14-13 in the second, Pavich’s block gave Benet back serve. After a Barnes smash, Pavich delivered a kill into the back corner then punctuated a big 5-0 run with a thunderous kill and 19-13 lead.
“I thought our passing was spot-on,” Pavich said. “That helped Hannah get the sets to me.”
Barnes earlier had a pair of kills to get Benet out of a 9-4 hole in the first set.
“We did a great job running our offense fast,” Barnes said. “Although we did rely on our outsides a lot we kept it at a fast pace. That’s a pace a lot of teams can’t keep up with. I’m just looking for seams. I know I’m not tall enough to just go up there and pound it.”
McAuley (26-3), which also lost to Benet in the 2010 Autumnfest final, never got closer. The young Mighty Macs start five sophomores, drawing from a Michio Chicago 15 National team that won the USAV 15 Open championship last summer.
“We didn’t attack as well as we need to,” McAuley coach Jen DeJarld said. “Game 2, we just never got in sync. We lost the ebb and flow we had in Game 1.”