PLAINFIELD – Hattie Monson is practically numb when diving to the floor.
"Because I've done it so much," Monson said.
Her mentality, though has long been just that – go for every ball.
"You don't know whether or not it's going come up, so might as well go for it," Monson said.
With a return to state on the line, it's safe to say it was all worth it. Monson's spectacular back-row play helped key Benet's 25-17, 25-17 win over Minooka in the Class 4A supersectional played at Plainfield North.
Benet (39-1) advanced to the Class 4A state semifinals next Friday at Redbird Arena, and a rubber match with two-time defending 4A champion Marist. Benet beat Marist in the championship match at the Wheaton Classic in September. Marist handed Benet its only loss the last match of the regular season.
Benet will be making its seventh state appearance since 2008, and going for its first state title since 2015. Marist beat the Redwings in last year's 4A semifinal.
"Just happy for the girls," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "Anytime you can make it this far and take them down state, it makes some of the best memories. Lot of these girls from last year really talk about it; that was their favorite memory in all of [their time] Benet was last year."
Monson, a Notre Dame recruit, had 12 digs Friday to lead a strong defensive effort by Benet that frustrated Minooka (32-8) on the offensive end. Benet, meanwhile, took long scoring runs to help put both games out of reach late.
With the first set tied 6-6, Benet ripped off a quick 4-0 run fueled by three Minooka attack errors and a kill from Colleen McGuire for the 10-6 lead. After a kill in response from 6-foot-3 Indians outside hitter Heidi Bonde, Benet again rolled off a 6-0 run by a flurry of kills from Ann Marie Remmes, Kyla Kenney and Rachel Muisenga. McGuire also had an ace during the run.
Minooka had a late 3-0 run to close the gap to 19-11, but strong play down the stretch from Benet's Sophie Gregus helped put the Indians away.
Minooka played a much closer match in the second set, earning a brief 8-4 advantage with kills from Allison Berkley, Desiree Papesh and Bonde, but Benet stormed back to later tie the match at 12-12.
From there, the Red Wings ripped off a 4-0 run from two Indians attack errors, a kill from Remmes and a Gregus block to lead 16-12. Bonde kept the Indians in it with three kills to pull within 18-15, but Gregus, Kenney and more kept the Indians from mounting a comeback.
Bonde led the Indians with 12 kills, while Anderson had four and Holly Kropke had three. Not to be overlooked, Indians senior setter Zoey Seput had 20 assists and six digs. Anderson had six digs, while Mia Alessio led with 13.
For Benet, Gregus had a team-high seven kills, Kenney had five and Remmes had four. Muisenga had 22 assists. Kenney had eight digs.
Minooka reached back-to-back second place finishes in the state competition in 2016 and 2017, and nearly advanced to state yet again.
"There were some really good rallies, [but] I just think mentally, we took ourselves out of it," Minooka coach Carrie Prosek said. "Their libero [Monson] is phenomenal...they have the best libero in the state. We knew that from the beginning, trying to avoid the hits. We had too many unforced errors as well."