Girls Volleyball: Benet blows by Plainfield Central, closes in on stateThe Benet Academy Girls Volleyball team celebrates after defeating Plainfield Central for the Sectional win on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at West Aurora High School in Aurora. Benet won the match in two sets. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 3, 2011 8:40PM
Meghan Haggerty, Jenna Jendryk and their Benet teammates will be taking the long road south to Normal Saturday. It’s a trip they hope to make again next week.
No. 3 Benet (36-3) moved one step closer to returning to Redbird Arena for the first time since 2008 by defeating Plainfield Central 25-17, 25-14 in the Class 4A sectional Thursday at Aurora West.
The Redwings will face Edwardsville at 7:00 p.m. Saturday in the supersectional at Normal. The winner will advance to the Class 4A semifinals on November 11 at Redbird Arena.
Haggerty and Jendryk certainly looked ready to play on the state’s biggest stage Thursday. The 6-foot-3 Wisconsin-bound Haggerty had 11 kills and two blocks, and Jendryk, a 6-foot Virginia Tech recruit, added five kills and five blocks as Benet’s size and power simply overwhelmed Plainfeld Central (23-16).
“We just keep at it,” Benet coach Brad Baker said. “They Plainfield Central) played strong at the start and we just continued to play our game and hope that people can’t play it as long as we can. They played it for about 10 points, and we just continue to push and push and push and you end up with the score you end up with.”
Plainfield Central overcame an early 8-4 deficit in Game 1 to grab an 11-10 lead on a kill by 6-2 junior Shannon Hagen and a Benet error. But the lead was shortlived. Benet countered with a 7-1 run as Jendryk collected two kills and a block to force a Plainfield Central timeout.
“We talked about how every point was going to be a battle and they were going to have to fight for everything, and they did what they could,” Plainfield Central coach Jessica Clark said. “Obviously, we had a huge height disadvantage playing a team like that, and that’s ultimately what won them the game.”
Benet continued to feed off its strong net play and built a 12-5 lead in Game 2. Jendryk got Benet going with three blocks and a kill before rotating out of the game.
“We knew they hit low to the tape and we wanted to come out and get a lot of blocks,” Jendryk said. “I didn’t get any blocks in the first set, so in second set I wanted to make up for it.”
Benet eventually extended to a 17-10 lead before Plainfield Central made one final push to get within 18-13. But Meghan Haggerty scored three times, including once on a misdirection off her fingertips, before younger sister Maddie closed the match with a thunderous kill at 24-17.
“I think so far on this playoff road this was our most challenging game,” Meghan Haggerty said. “It definitely feels good to be able to play our best volleyball and get it done.“
Hannah Kaminsky added 23 assists and three aces, Maddie Haggerty had four kills and Gabby Pethokoukis added three kills and a block for Benet. Erin Hyland led Plainfield Central with four kills, two aces and a block, and freshman Elizabeth Hyland added three kills.
“This is something, being one of the final 16 teams in the state, it’s something that no one expected us to do from the very beginning of the season,” Clark said. “Now they know.”