Stephanie Sinnappan’s position switch sparks Benet to victory

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It took a while for the Benet girls volleyball team to adjust to several position changes in Wednesday’s lineup But, the Redwings finally put it all together in the third set to ward off a big challenge by visiting Neuqua Valley 25-22, 23-25, 25-13. Stephanie Sinnappan, who had been setting, played the outside and freshman Sara Nielsen handled the setting duties.Sophomore Tiffany Clark also started at outside hitter in the new lineup.All three made major contributions in their new roles. “We communicated better as a team and our serve-receive was a lot better in that third set,” said Benet coach Brad Baker. “When you pass well it makes everything a lot easier, it makes the game crisper and creates opportunities for the hitters. When you lose as we did in the second game you get a little fired up.” The one thing the Redwings avoided in the third set that hurt them in the first two was the extended scoring run by Neuqua Valley. In the first set, the Redwings (7-1) led 18-16, when they gave up a six-point run to the Wildcats, and they had to come from behind with six straight points of their own to win the set. After scoring the first five points in the second set, the defending state championsthen surrendered another six-point runthat pulled the Wildcats (3-5) even at 18-18. This time the Wildcats overcame four ties down the stretch to win the second set. But the third set went smoothly for the Redwings who were firmly in control from the beginning with a 10-1 lead. The Wildcats never really challenged. “We have a tendency to lose our energy a little and get into ruts,” said Sinnappan, who led Benet with 14 kills. “We had that energy all the way through the third set and that showed. We also came together as a team.” Benet’s Whitney Battoe added nine kills, while Caroline Wolf came up with 24 digs. Nielsen and Clark had three aces each. And Nielsen served up 34 assists. “We played solid ball the first two sets,” said Neuqua Valley coach Kelly Simon. “We minimized our errors and made them earn their points. In the third we got in a hole early and never recovered. Benet played great defense. They were serving and executing well and running their offense effectively. They just made things happen.” Kaelan Haag led the Wildcats with seven kills and Kayln Hugdahl had six. BrennaDunckel had five blocks. Jessica Mitchell and Abby Skryd had 10 digs apiece.

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