St. Viator holds off Benet

St. Viator won a school-record 24 matches last year behind five seniors, including Ben Wolf. Like any good younger brother, Ethan Wolf is trying to do his older sibling one better.   Ethan Wolf had 10 kills and two blocks Wednesday to lead the Lions to a 26-24, 26-24 victory at Benet in the East Suburban Catholic matchup. The win was No. 23 for the Lions, who can tie the school record with a win next Tuesday at Carmel or against Roosevelt in their state tournament opener.   “We worked hard,” Wolf said. “We’re a good group of friends, we communicate well, we play together well. We have a couple of guys with experience from last year and that helps. I have the most experience so I have to lead everyone. Everyone is stepping up.   “Today we had a lot of energy, and we were having fun. That helped us through.”   Wolf was at his best at the end of both sets. He had two kills and a block to turn back Benet in Game 1 after the Redwings fought back from a 17-13 deficit to tie at 22, and he accounted for three of St. Viator’s final four points in the second set after the hosts rallied from a 23-20 deficit to tie at 24.   “He’s our go-to guy all year,” St. Viator coach Chris Boylan said. “He’s broken all the school records for single-season and career kills and aces. He’s become the leader his brother was last year. He’s taken the reins over for the whole program.   “He’s not very big, but he’s a smart guy, he’s very athletic, and he does the right things. He’s a five-tool athlete, just like in baseball. He can serve, block, set, hit and dig. He can do it all.”   While Wolf was working his magic on the St. Viator side of the net, junior Scott Kleiser (11 kills, two blocks) was doing everything he could to keep Benet (21-10, 5-3) in the match.   “Scott played very aggressively and was taking a lot for the team,” Benet coach Amy Van Eekeren said. “He was trying to get in on every block, moving his feet quickly. We got a lot of great swings by him. Unfortunately, you can’t get as many swings in the middle if the passes aren’t there. “I thought Scott and (libero) Logan Ladowski energy-wise definitely were there more than anyone else on the team. But it takes a team. We need to perform as a team. It’s very frustrating right now at this point of the season. This is when we should be playing our best.”   Ryan Schiller added seven kills and a block and Vito Brunetti had 13 assists for St. Viator (23-10, 4-3). Garrett Metzger contributed seven kills and two blocks for Benet, which also got 14 assists and three kills from Ben Mazza and 10 assists from Jackson Van Eekeren. 

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