Chargers Prevail against Florence in Five-Set Thriller

1 year ago Andrew Luberda 0

Act like you’ve been there before.

That’s exactly what the Benjamin Franklin volleyball team did in its 3 – 2 (9-25, 25-18, 25-23, 16-25, 15-8) victory against visiting Florence on Thursday, Oct. 11.

The Central Region-leading Chargers entered last Thursday’s match 3 – 0 in five-set matches this season, including a 3 – 2 (22-25, 20-25, 25-22, 25-18, 15-12) win at Florence on Sept. 25.

“We love a challenge,” Benjamin Franklin head coach Rebecca Madrid told afterwards. “We always rise to the occasion. The girls stepped up and got it done, and I’m really proud of them.”

Just as they did back in September, the Gophers took the first set, but this time it was a more decisive win. Senior setter Reagan Rimmer and junior opposite hitter Clara Bednarek dominated against the Chargers, who were expecting a different attack.

“I don’t think we were prepared for what they were (executing against) us,” said Benjamin Franklin senior opposite hitter Julia Boyd. “Last time we played them, they had a different offense. They changed it up on us.”

The Chargers rebounded to take the next two sets, but the Gophers were determined to go five sets again, winning the fourth set, 25 – 16.

“I’m excited with (how) we came out,” Florence head coach Jeana Brown said. “Even though we lost a couple of sets (against) them, we never lost to them as much as they lost to us. We kept the pressure on, we kept challenging and I’m proud of (our team) for that.”

In the fifth set, the Chargers jumped out to an 11 – 2 lead before the Gophers closed within five points to trail 13 – 8, but that’s as close as it would get before Benjamin Franklin won its seven-straight region match without a loss.

“We play our best when we are aggressive,” Boyd answered when asked about the Chargers’ performance in the deciding set. “We decided we weren’t going to tip, we were going to do what we know and hit it as hard as we could.”


 Nice rebound:  After the one-sided defeat in the first set, the Chargers rebounded nicely in the second set. They entered the match undefeated in the region, 6 – 0, and used that as motivation to remain that way.

“When it came to the second set, we realized that if we lost, we’d wouldn’t have remained undefeated in the region, so we were really determined,” Boyd said.

Still room for improvement:  The Gophers have proven to be a tough out against the region’s best team. Brown was asked after the match how her team can get over the top and win these close matches.

“Build confidence on our passing against good serving,” she responded.

When the Gophers were able to cleanly return serve, they more often than not played well. It was recovering from a difficult play that was a challenge they had a hard time overcoming.

“Out-of-system play makes or breaks you,” Brown said. “We were out-of-system for 13 points, so if we figure out how to play (in that situation) a little bit better, make those changes quicker, then we can change games.”

Right where they want them:  The Chargers are now 4 – 0 in five-set matches. Madrid said her team loves the challenge. It must, as evidenced by its success.

With the playoffs approaching, these experiences could prove to be beneficial.

“We’ve been tested,” Madrid said. “We’ve been pushed to five sets quite a bit, so they know how to win and finish games.”

THREE STARS – Florence

No. 3 – Alixis Padilla. The sophomore finished tied for the team lead with three aces and second on the team with seven digs.

No. 2 – Regan Rimmer. Great all-round game. Five kills, three aces, three blocks, and a team-high 14 assists.

No. 1 – Clara Bednarek. She was the Gophers’ best player. 11 kills, an ace and seven digs.



THREE STARS – Benjamin Franklin

No. 3 – Kayla Anderson. The Chargers’ best defensive player.

BFHS Julia Boyd. (Caitlyn Craig).

No. 2 – Taylor Vanduyn. The Chargers’ best all-around player.

No. 1 – Julia Boyd. Not just the Chargers’ best player, the best player on the court.


“We have to stay aggressive and play with the attitude that we need to continue winning.” – Boyd on the Chargers carrying over their success in region games into the playoffs.


Florence: The Gophers will host ALA-Ironwood on Senior Night, Tuesday, Oct. 23. The match is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Benjamin Franklin:  The Chargers will host San Tan Foothills on Senior Night, Tuesday, Oct. 23. The match is scheduled for 6 p.m.