Benet Academy girls lacrosse made it deep into the post-season on the strength of a deep offensive attack and a stingy defense. They are the subject of our final Team Profile, presented by Molly Maid of Aurora Naperville Area.
On April 13th, 2021 Benet Academy girls lacrosse returned to the playing field for the first time in nearly two years. The opponent was Loyola Academy, one of the strongest program in the state and a team that took home the 3rd place trophy at state in 2018. The Redwings fell by the score of 18-1 that day, an auspicious debut for the black and red.
But as the season went along, it became clear that the result of that game said much more about the strength of the Loyola team, than it did about the 2021 Redwings. Benet went on to win 11 straight contests, eight of them by double digits, with wins over top tier programs like Naperville North, Neuqua Valley and conference rival St. Viator. By the end of the regular season, the Wings shared the conference championship with St. Viator and earned a number one sectional seed.
Coach McGuire has many talented players filling up the roster to spark the resurgence. Seniors Karly Keating and Margaret Snyder were key holdovers from Benet’s last varsity season in 2019 and they had a massive impact on this breakout season. Keating led the team with over 130 goals and 70 assists, leading the team in both categories. While Snyder scored over 30 goals and was second on the team in assists. The Redwings also got huge contributions from the freshman class. Shannon Earley scored over 115 goals in her first season, while Dagny Tombaugh added over 30 goals and 30 assists. Another freshman, Madeline Jensen, played between the pipes and allowed fewer than eight goals per game.
Entering the post season, Benet had never won a playoff game since lacrosse became an IHSA sport in 2018. The Redwings had fallen to Wheaton United in the first round in both seasons. But this was a new team and not only did they win their first playoff game and the sectional championship, they took down the perennial thorn in their side, Wheaton United along the way.
The run continued as Benet girls lacrosse won the Super-sectional over Conant by the score of 12-3, advancing to state for the first time in school history. And that Loyola team from the opening game, they turned out to be pretty decent. The Ramblers won the state championship with a perfect 25-0 record.
Despite falling to Glenbrook South and Hinsdale Central in the semi final and 3rd place game, this Redwing team and senior class set a new standard for the program with a 19-4 record and the 4th place IHSA state trophy. A classic reminder of the old saying that it’s not about how you start, but how you finish.
For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Justin Cornwell.
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