Benet offense moving on all cylinders
Updated: March 22, 2011 5:24PM
The fact that right-side Jenna Jendryk led Benet in kills at last weekend's Mizuno Cup was evidence that the Redwings offense is purring on all cylinders.
Even though Benet (20-6) was defeated by Joliet Catholic in the finals, the Redwings had a lot to be happy about as they head into the crucial part of the season, and Jendryk's performance is certainly at the top of the list.
Jendryk, who had 21 kills against St. Charles East, which hosted the tournament at the Great Lakes Center, had a team-high 42 kills over five matches.
"Jenna was really good," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "Her performance shows that we're adding people to our offense. We're getting the right-side and the middles more involved which makes us more diverse and harder to stop as a team."
The increased scoring opportunities for Jendryk and the middles means that everything leading up to the kill is going right, and it is going right consistently.
"A lot of teams would love to have the right-side lead the team in attempts and kills," Baker said. "But, it rarely happens because teams don't pass and set well enough to do that."
Baker was impressed by his team's come-from-behind victory over St. Charles East, because the Saints had defeated the Redwings earlier in the season.
"To come back and beat St. Charles East gives us confidence and shows we're improving and heading in the right direction," Baker said.
"Right now we're focused on competing and this tournament provided us with the best competition there is."
Benet's Kaitlyn King was named the best setter in the tournament.
Wildcats reach 20-win mark
Neuqua Valley got to the 20-win mark for the season after going 3-2 and finished seventh in the Mizuno Cup.
After defeating Rockford-Guilford and Rosary on Friday to make it to the Gold Division, the Wildcats had a disappointing loss to Benet, 25-16, 25-18 in their first match on Saturday.
There's no shame in losing to the powerful Redwings, but it was the way the Wildcats lost that was so frustrating to Neuqua coach Kelly Simon.
"We played solidly against them," Simon said. "Except for a couple of long runs that we gave up in each game. In those stretches we made every kind of error imaginable - service errors, attacking errors, net violations, you name it. And, everyone contributed to the mistake pool. Benet is a great team, but these repeated lapses were very disappointing."
In their fourth match, the Wildcats came up short against Belleville Althoff 25-18, 19-25, 26-24.
"We dominated games two and three," Simon said. "But down the homestretch we made an error and that turned out to be the difference in the game."
The Wildcats then beat Edwardsville 25-19, 25-21 to finish in seventh.
"Everybody contributed in that match," Simon said. "It was a great team effort to get our 20th win."
Middle-hitters Brigid Campbell and Leighanne Novak tied for the team lead for kills in the tournament with 31. And they each had 10 blocks. Novak committed only four errors in 50 attempts for a 54 efficiency percentage.
"They both played really well," Simon said. "It's great to have them produce in a way that's typical of outside hitters. We were able to utilize them across the net on all kinds of sets. They really stepped up for us."