BARTLETT – Benet’s boys volleyball team entered Wednesday’s nonconference match at Bartlett with a 10-1 record, just slightly better than the Hawks’ 9-1.
The two teams then played a match worthy of those glittery records — and then some.
Bartlett dug out of quite a hole, hustling after one ball after another to erase eight match points in the second set. The Hawks then completed the comeback in the third set for a 21-25, 32-30, 25-22 victory.
“We trust our team fully,” Bartlett setter Adarsh Patel said of playing so many big points so well. “I trust any of my hitters. I can set them all day and they put the ball away.”
Benet (10-2) features plenty of size, including 6-foot-5 Niall Gallagher, 6-7 Peter Shanley, 6-6 Dominic Krzeczkowski and 6-5 Ethan Sturm.
They made several plays including seven kills and six blocks from Gallagher, but Bartlett (10-1) kept swinging.
Trailing 24-22 in the second set, the Hawks fought off the first two match points on a block by Adam Koniecko and Elijah Gregg’s kill.
Benet kept regaining a 1-point lead, but the next six times they did, the Redwings lost the next point. Almost every time it came from a big play on Bartlett’s side, whether it be a kill from Gregg, a clutch dig by libero Pratham Patel, or Adarsh Patel stuffing a shot at the net.
The Hawks finally took the lead at 31-30 on Jake Smith’s block, then won the set when Benet hit wide on the next point.
“They made some good swings tonight and hats off to them,” Benet coach Jeff Steinberg said. “It was one of those nights where it just didn’t go our way. We had some opportunities that we didn’t put the ball away and they are things we have to learn from and grow from. It’s just learning to play in those big moments and put the ball away.”
Tied at 15 in the third set, Bartlett took control with a 6-1 run that started on an Anthony Mapes kill and ended on two winners by Spencer Medendorp — first a tip and then a blast.
Down 24-19, Benet did fight off three match points of its own before Gregg knocked a ball off Benet’s block for his 13th kill.
Andrew Rogers (12 kills) and August Mazza (11 kills) paced Benet. Adarsh Patel set 38 assists to go with two aces, Gregg added 13 digs and two aces, Mapes had 14 kills, Medendorp 11 kills and Koniecko 4 blocks for the Hawks.
“I have a libero that I can rely on to cover just about everything,” Bartlett coach Robert Schwantz said. “I have a setter who can set from anywhere on the court. It’s an embarrassment of riches I’ve got.”