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Girls volleyball: Benet keeps West Aurora in check

West Aurora's PeytMcKenzie spikes ball while being defended by Benet's Abby Willett. | Mike Mantucc~ For Sun-Times Media

West Aurora's Peyton McKenzie spikes the ball while being defended by Benet's Abby Willett. | Mike Mantucca ~ For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 1, 2012 4:48PM



Momma said there’d be days like this.

The rematch of an earlier contest played at the Benet Invite in August between top-ranked Benet and DuPage Valley Conference champion West Aurora bore little resemblance to that earlier meeting, which the Redwings won by an eyelash, 26-24, 25-23.

Tuesday at the Class 4A sectional at Neuqua Valley, Benet (36-2) could do little wrong and West Aurora could do little right. The result was a 25-10, 25-11 victory for the Redwings, who advance to Thursday’s 7 p.m. sectional championship against Lemont (26-12).

Even Benet coach Brad Baker was a little stunned by the swiftness with which his team defeated West Aurora (32-6).

“We figured tonight would come down to serve-receive and particularly those two rotations where they have jumpservers,” he said. “When we were running slides on their jumpservers, we knew it was going to be a good night because it means we’re in system and not just putting up high balls.

“They’re a great team and they did not play their best match,” he added. “We’ve seen them a ton on tape. Obviously, their record in getting here speaks for itself. Our girls just played well.”

Six-foot-2 junior middle Brittany Pavich provided most of the offense in Game 1, recording six of her nine kills to lead the Redwings to leads of 7-2, 14-6 and 21-9. Game 2 was more of the same. Her ninth and final kill of the match gave Benet a 23-10 advantage.

“It was a fun game,” she said. “Our passers were making some great passes, which let Hannah (setter Kaminsky) get me some passes on the side. We try to switch up some hits, especially if we’re constantly getting blocked. But it was just working tonight.”

Kaminsky contributed 16 assists, two blocks and two aces, Abby Willett had three kills and two blocks and Cara Mattaliano and 6-3 sophomore Rachael Fara each had three kills. Libero Sheila Doyle had a half-dozen digs and an assist.

Meanwhile, West Aurora star Lauren Carlini was limited to five kills and four assists. As a team, West Aurora managed just 12 kills in the match as hitting errors and Benet’s defense kept the Blackhawks in check.

”We knew coming in, everybody knows she’s (Carlini) a great player,” Doyle said. “She’s awesome. But we really had to focus on what we were doing and not worry about what they were going to do. We just had to play our game.

“I think we played good defense, passed well and put the ball down when we needed to,” she added. “All season, our goal is that nothing hits the floor. We got a lot of touches on balls, we were able to run them down, we picked up tips and did a good job not letting anything hit the floor.”

Peyton McKenzie added three kills for West Aurora, which also got a pair of kills from Demi Heiss. The Blackhawks were also stymied by 13 total errors in Game 1 and eight errors in Game 2.

“We had nine hitting errors in the first game, which was rough,” West Aurora coach Kari Nicholson said. “Even if we had the pass, we couldn’t put the ball away, and when we couldn’t put the ball away, we would make mistakes.

“We couldn’t get into our rhythm tonight,” she added. “I think sometimes we overplayed, we tried to do too much. We weren’t in a flow.”



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