Benedictine sealed its critical conference win over Baker Tuesday night with something coach Erin Cooper has stressed time and time again this season, blocking.
The Ravens were down 23-21 in the fourth set after five straight points from the Wildcats but responded with three of the next four points coming off blocks from the defense to win the match 3-1.
“That just shows that the kids are buying into what we’re preaching in practice,” Cooper said. “It’s still not up to where I would like it but I’m not sure if it will ever just because I have pretty high standards for it but we’re getting better and it’s how we finished off the match tonight.”
All four sets in the match were highly competitive with both teams making a number of saves and diving for balls on effort plays.
Senior middle hitter Kate Hanson said this was maybe the best team effort they’ve had all season.
“We really worked as a team as much as we’ve done all season.” Hanson said. “Coach has said when we play as a team and not individuals we have a lot of success even if our skill isn’t perfect.”
She also said this rivalry brings out the best in both programs.
“It’s just one of those games where both teams have a big desire to win,” Hanson said.
Cooper said she’s encouraged by how the team is learning play in high pressure situations on the court.
“I think we’re learning how to deal with that adversity of being at game-point and we serve a ball out of bounds or something like that,” Cooper said. “We’re able to find a sense of calmness after that so it doesn’t destroy the rest of the set.”
Senior outside hitter Fleur Wesselink led the team in kills with 22 while senior Elizabeth Nobert and sophomore Haylie Dickerson were both second with ten on the night.
“We’re producing better numbers offensively and a lot of that has to do with out passing,” Cooper said. “It’s the first contact of where the ball needs to be and our back row played phenomenal tonight.”
The win keeps Benedictine two games ahead of Baker in the conference standings.