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Mustangs clinch WAMAC West with win over Benton

The Mustangs celebrate winning a share of the WAMAC West title after defeating Benton on Thursday night. Fron row left to right: Allie Sorg, Karlie Neidert, Grace Bohlken, Hannah Johnson, Brooke Beatty, Shalaya Armstead, Lainie Butters and Suzi Grover. Back row left to right: Jess Conklin, Kate Crawford, Allie Jo Zieser, Katie Henkes, Lexi Hearn, Shanna Kleve, Elle Greiner and Joe Schmitz.

BENTON – The Independence Mustangs varsity volleyball team clinched a share of the WAMAC West Division title with a win over conference rival Benton on the road Thursday night.

“I am very proud of how hard the girls competed again tonight,” said Independence volleyball coach Joe Schmitz. “Benton is a very solid team and [Abby] Brunssen is really tough to slow down. Lexi Hearn had her best match in her young career with her hitting and blocking the net. Another girl who really stepped up was Lainie Butters, she played a great game defensively and had a season-high 11 kills.”

The Mustangs defeated the Bobcats in four sets (25-16, 22-25, 25-16, 25-21).

Independence won the first set but lost a close second set to Benton. The Mustangs would go on to win the next to sets to clinch the win.

“The girls really played well in the third set, our offense was solid and Elle [Greiner] was doing a fantastic job getting the ball to our hitters,” Schmitz said. “In the fourth set, Independence was able to maintain a small lead throughout the set, on their way to a 25-21 victory. Hearn continued her strong front row play with more kills, while Lainie Butters would also contribute five kills in the closing set.”

Hearn and Reese Martin tied for the team lead with 13 kills; with both players each recording an ace serve. Hearn and Martin also tied for the team lead with two blocks.

Greiner led the team with 44 assists and two ace serves; and also contributed two kills.

Junior Brooke Beatty led the team with 27 digs, with Grace Bohlken finishing a close second with 23 digs.

The Mustangs close out the regular season with a 5-1 conference record and a 21-8 overall record. They tied Center Point-Urbana and Clear Creek-Amana for the WAMAC West title.

Up next

Independence will compete in the Hampton-Dumont tournament today at 9 a.m. On Monday, the Mustangs will compete in the WAMAC Super Tournament.