By Matt Captain
The St. Ben’s volleyball team has been on a tear lately by not just winning five straight matches, but also sweeping all five opponents.
Overall, the Bennies are 10-6 and 4-1 in the MIAC with the only loss coming at the hands of conference leading St. Thomas.
The CSB team consists of seven upperclassmen and twelve first-year players. In other words, this young team has room to grow.
Two standout first-years have helped fuel the five-game win streak. Hunter Weiss and Madison Weiss are twins from Shakopee, Minnesota. The 6’1” first-years have combined for 258 kills, with Hunter leading the team with 167 kills.
Other first-years who have contributed to the rise of the team include Katherine Koch, Madison Hurrle, Morgan Holthaus and Bridget McDonald.
Last year, the Bennies missed the playoffs finishing sixth in the MIAC with a 5-6 record. Yet, there’s no looking back to last season.
With six remaining conference games, CSB sits in a four-way tie for second with Gustavus, Augsburg and St. Olaf.
The MIAC is highly competitive with Gustavus ranked No. 11 and St. Thomas ranked No. 17 nationally.
“The MIAC is definitely a conference where any team can upset each other on any night,” sophomore libero Haley LaValle said.
With over half the MIAC season left, the conference title as well as a spot in the playoffs are certainly up for grabs for any team.
Friday night will be another one of those competitive MIAC matchups when Bethel comes to town to take on the Bennies. Bethel is coming off a hard-fought loss to St. Olaf that broke their four-game winning streak.
“Bethel is a very important game,” LaValle said. “It could be the key to determining if we make the playoffs. They are definitely a team we can beat, but definitely a team that can outperform us if we don’t work hard.”
This is an important game for the playoff picture as only the top four teams qualify. A win would help CSB volleyball control its own destiny. A loss would drop the team to 4-2 and put more pressure on the Bennies with only five games remaining.
However, the Bennies’ sole concentration is on Bethel.
“Once we step in the gym, our work ethic is unmatched,” LaValle said. “We are focused and ready to dominate Bethel for our fifth MIAC win.”
With confidence brewing, a big crowd is expected at Claire Lynch Hall when the Bennies take on Bethel tonight at 7 p.m.
Feature photo courtesy of CSB Athletics
First-year Madison Weiss goes up for the kill over two St. Scholastica defenders in the middle of the second set during a tight non-conference matchup in Claire Lynch Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 26.