It certainly wasn’t an upset win, but St. Patrick’s 25-23, 25-22 victory over Benet was…unconventional.
With Benet leading 19-11 in the set two, the match seemed destined to be decided in the third set, but a 14-3 run by the Shamrocks to end the match quickly put that assumption to bed.
“Our matches with Benet are always like this, and it’s a great start to our conference season,” said St. Patrick’s head coach Joel Anderson. “After getting down we increased our defense, especially out net play and were finally able to mix up our offense.”
What turned out to be one of the most entertaining, and evenly matched games of the year actually started out a bit sluggish.
Out of the gate, both teams were unable to find their rhythm offensively and were content with tipping the ball in play just to keep rallies alive.
That soon changed however, as both St. Pats and Benet seemed to turn it on at the exact same time and exchanged kill for kill, with neither team being able to take more than a one point lead.
The set remained even until Benet went cold at the worst possible time, the Redwings turned a one point advantage into a two point deficit as they doubled their amount of errors from the previous 20 points.
St. Pats took advantage of the slight lapse in play, to giving themselves three match points at 24-21, before finally taking the opening set 25-23.
The poor close to the first set seemed to really wake Benet up as they jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second set.
Benet would continue to extend their lead thanks to dominating net play, as middle hitter Nick Crnkovich (five kills, three blocks) had two stuff blocks in quick succession.
Anderson said: “We don’t normally run every ball to the one zone, so we eventually switched that up and it worked out.”
After back to back aces that hit the top of the tape and dropped over the net, Benet seemed poised to take the set with a 19-11 lead. But that’s where St. Pats finally started to make their run.
As the Shamrocks started to pick up their play, senior Brett Rosenbusch took over the match, putting away nine of his game high 15 kills in the second set alone.
“Brett has been a four year varsity starter for us, he’s irreplaceable,” said Anderson. “The things he does on the court four us…You can’t really put into words.”
St. Pats would tie the match up at 19 before Benet finally managed to side out, but the by that point, all of the momentum was with St. Pats.
The Shamrocks closed the match out with one final Rosenbucsh kill to give them an extremely important conference win over the rival Redwings.
Benet will have a week to regroup before returning to conference play against Joliet Catholic, while St. Pats will look to carry their momentum into this weekend’s tournament at Brother Rice.