Benzinger's 500th Kill Highlights Mounties' Senior Night Win
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- In addition to being a deadly threat on the front line of the Mount Greylock volleyball team and a future Division I athlete in women’s basketball, Mounties senior Jenna Benzinger brought down the house last spring with her performance in the school’s spring musical.
Perhaps it was her flair for the dramatic that led Benzinger to reach a career milestone Monday at the only possibly dramatic moment of a three-set win over Wahconah.
Benzinger came into the game needing just eight kills to reach the 500-kill plateau in her career.
She had six in a first set that saw the Mounties cruise to a 25-9 win.
But in set No. 2, Wahconah got off the mat to take a 7-1 lead thanks to a 5-0 opening run off the serve of Kelsey LaFreniere.
Benzinger delivered kill No. 500 off a Maddie Albert set to get the Mounties the serve, and Benzinger served the next three points for Mount Greylock as the team turned the tide and went on to a 25-9, 25-14, 25-18 win.
Benzinger finished with 12 kills up front and five aces to lead the Mounties to victory on Senior Night.
“It’s a big deal,” Mount Greylock coach John Albano said of Benzinger’s presence at the net. “Not a lot of people can deal with that. She gets blocked every once in a while, but we can adjust. Dagny [Albano] gives her higher sets or left or right. It’s a team effort to deal with whatever the defense is doing.
“But it’s great to have her there.”
Benzinger, who is going to Brown in the fall to play Ivy League basketball, said that the 500th kill was not on her mind as she prepared to take on Wahconah on Monday.
“I was just looking to have fun and have a good last home game with my team,” Benzinger said. “We’re a really close group of girls. I was just looking forward to having another amazing time on the court. We just have a lot of fun.”
The other seniors each were key in the victory. Albano recorded 22 assists. Serena Chow had seven kills and served out the match. Carly Munzer had two of Mount Greylock’s nine digs.
The Mounties’ defensive efforts were one factor that helped keep Wahconah’s offense off balance. Another problem: Wahconah’s serve receive.
“Dagny [Albano] started with a great serve to begin with,” Wahconah coach David Lussier said. “It was floating really well, and we had trouble passing out of the gate. It was kind of hard to put an offense together.
“It was kind of tough, you have a big crowd here for Senior Night and to see Jenna get her 500th kill, which is an awesome thing. Is that an excuse for us? I think Greylock played really outstanding ball tonight. They had their offense going on. They were spreading it around. Serena [Chow] had a great game on the outside. And they played great defense. Even when we had some power going on, they were able to dig it and bring it up.”
Emma Parkington led Wahconah with five kills and seven digs. Lucy Sears had eight assists and four digs.
After Mount Greylock got back into the second set on Benzinger’s serve, it took a lead with five straight points from Albert that turned an 8-6 deficit into an 11-8 advantage.
Marley Buffis gave the Mounties a working margin with a seven-point run that included two aces and back-to-back Benzinger kills. She gave up the serve with Mount Greylock ahead, 20-12.
The longest service run of the third set also came from Buffis, who took the ball with Mount Greylock ahead, 12-9 and gave it up with her team on top, 16-10. Buffis also dove for a big dig later in the set to extend a rally that ended with a Chow kill to make it 23-18.
Mount Greylock goes to Pittsfield on Wednesday. Wahconah hosts Lee on Thursday.