Staton and McNeill earn All-WCC for Benson volleyball; Staton also MVP

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Claire Ricard (right) and Mariah Ahrndt go up for a block against Melrose as Courtney McNeill (left) prepares for a possible play at the net.

The Benson volleyball team went 6-19 during the 2017 season, including a 3-11 mark within the WCC.  The Braves started out 1-5, but then went  5-7 over their next 12 matches to improve to 6-12 before losing their final seven-straight matches, including five by 3-0 scores and two by 3-1.

Benson’s season ended with a 26-24, 14-25, 24-26, 24-26 loss at home to Atwater-CGC, in the first round of the Section 5A Volleyball Tourney.  The Braves came into the match as the fourth seed in its “pod” of Section 5A, while the Falcons were seeded fifth.  The two teams split their regular-season matches.

Morris Area-CA won this year’s WCC title with a 13-1 record, followed by Melrose Area (12-2), Sauk Centre (11-3), Montevideo (8-6), BOLD (5-9), Benson and ACGC (both 3-11), and Minnewaska Area (1-13).  Morris Area came the closest to earning a state berth, losing to Marshall in five games for the Section 3AA championship.

Seniors lost to graduation from this year’s Benson volleyball team are Courtney McNeill, Leah Molden, Grace Lee, Lizzie Staton, Ellie Schiller, and Anna Gosson....
 

Benson season awards

Senior Lizzie Staton earned the Benson volleyball Most Valuable Player award.  She also joined Courtney McNeill on the WCC All-Conference team.  Leah Molden was selected to the honorable mention team.  Staton led the Braves with 166 kills, going 473-for-551 in attacks.  She also had nine ace-serves and 13 blocks, and was 136-for-158 serving.  McNeill was the top setter with 223 set assists.  She also had 68 kills, and was 170-for-18 serving with 11 aces.  Molden had a team-best 373 digs, and also was 183-for-207 serving with 26 ace-serves, second most on the team.

McNeill was also selected for the Braves’ Team Award, while Molden earned the Hustle Award, and Claire Ricard won the Most Improved honor.
•  The Benson volleyball team earned the Academic All-State Gold team award this year, while Leah Molden also earned Academic All-State honors...

 

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Pictured: Claire Ricard (right) and Mariah Ahrndt go up for a block against Melrose as Courtney McNeill (left) prepares for a possible play at the net.
 

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