This is a familiar sight on Saturdays. Benet won its third tournament of the season Saturday at the St. Charles East/Mizuno Scholastic Cup tournament hosted by the Great Lakes Volleyball Center in Aurora.
Benet might want to think about playing all of its matches on Saturday.
The Redwings (24-3 overall) improved to 9-0 on Saturdays by winning the St. Charles East/Mizuno Scholastic Cup tournament at the Great Lakes Volleyball Center in Aurora last weekend. It was also Benet’s this straight tournament championship.
So far, Benet has beaten York to win its own invitational, Hinsdale South to win the Wheaton Classic, and St. Charles East at the Mizuno Cup.
It’s Monday’s through Thursdays that have given Benet the most trouble. Benet entered the tournament having lost to Marist at home on Thursday after losing to Providence the previous Thursday.
“Obviously, we didn’t have practice before we played (Friday in pool play), so we didn’t have an opportunity to work on some things,” Benet coach Brad Baker said.
“The girls came into this tournament with a certain sense of pride,” he added. “They know the last week-and-a-half they haven’t been playing their best, and they wanted to come out the last two days and make sure they did.”
Benet won all of its matches at Mizuno in straight sets and was only seriously challenged once. Leon (Fla.) wiped out an 18-11 deficit in the second game of the semifinal and got within 22-21 before the Redwings pulled away.
“You’re always going to have stretches in every match like that,” Baker said. “It’s how you fight through that and how quickly you can stay positive and move on that matters, and we were able to do that.”
Benet will put its 9-0 record on Saturdays to the test this weekend at the Autumnfest Tournament hosted by Glenbard East. The field includes Mother McAuley, Joliet Catholic, Providence and Huntley.
Barrington was one of the teams that incurred Benet’s wrath over the weekend. The Fillies (21-5), the eighth seed in the tournament, fell to the Redwings 25-9, 25-15 in the quarterfinals.
Looking back, the Benet match was a harbinger of bad things to come for the Fillies, who lost all three of their matches Saturday to finish eighth in the 24-team field.
“Benet is a very, very physical team, the most physical team we played all year,” Barrington coach Rob Ridenour said. “Game one specifically, we just kind of played pretty timid. That’s why this is a great tournament for us. We can come out and see kind of play and get past that mental block.”
Ridenour saw one of the Fillies’ strengths become a weakness Saturday.
“One of strengths all year has been winning the serve-pass battle,” he said. “We definitely lost the serve-pass battle against Benet, and against a team that is that big and physical you have to win the serve-pass battle. We are better passing team than we showed.
“But this tournament is going to make us better regardless of the result,” he added. “It’s going to make us a more formidable team come the postseason, and that’s right around the corner. I think playing this tournament is going to make our block and defense better and at a faster speed.”
Barrington travels to Fremd Tuesday with a chance to clinch the Mid-Suburban West title outright.
Barrington was not the only team that ran afoul of Benet on Saturday, and a big reason for that was the play of 6-foot outside Jenna Jendryk, who had 11 kills and three blocks in the Redwings’ 25-16, 25-13 victory over St. Charles East in the championship match.
“Setting Jenna is amazing,” said Benet junior Hannah Kaminsky. “Any ball she hits straight down. She finds open spots, there were no players where she was hitting. She loves it, too.”
Even St. Charles East coach Jenni Kull was impressed.
“No. 7 (Jendryk) played lights out,” Kull said. “She had a great match.”
For her part, Jendryk would just like to see her team get better and get ready for the postseason.
“We need to improve every day at practice so we’re not making so many unforced errors,” Jendryk said. “We need to make improvement every day.”
Fans hoping to see Edwardsville’s Sam Epenesa, a Purdue recruit and one of the best players in the state, Saturday at the St. Charles East/Mizuno Scholastic Cup tournament were sorely disappointed.
Last year, coach Jami Parker was without two of her starters due to homecoming and the Tigers went 0-3 after winning their pool. This year, the Tigers were without Epenesa and senior setter McKenzie Collins.
“Both girls are up for homecoming queen,” Parker said. “It shouldn’t have been a problem this year, and then the football team changed its schedule on us spring of last year. There’s nothing we can do. They (Epenesa and Collins) were here Friday night, but not (Saturday).”
St. Charles North finished second last weekend at the Schaumburg Invite, falling in the championship match to Cary Grove 25-17, 25-20. The North Stars defeated Schaumburg, Harvest Christian Academy and Bartlett to reach the semifinals where they ousted (Rockton) Hononegah to reach the finals.
Kim Juriga led the North Stars with 26 kills, 3 aces, and 5 blocks for the tournament, while Jillian Stolzenburg, Lauren Madziarczyk and Taylor Krage each had 22 kills. Jacey Bell and Stolzenburg each had 10 blocks while Emily Belz amassed 84 assists.
The North Stars improved to 16-8 by going 4-1 at the tournament.