The loss ended Benjamin’s streak of three consecutive state championship appearances
WEST PALM BEACH — For the first time since 2015, Benjamin volleyball not play in the state final.
Benjamin fell to Westminster Christian in a Class 3A semifinal, 24-26, 21-25, 25-15, 23-25, on Saturday afternoon.
Ellie Blain notched a team-high 28 kills, Lauren Lange added eight, and Peyton Greene chipped in six kills for Benjamin.
Despite the four-set loss to the visiting Warriors (27-4), Benjamin (21-2) has plenty to be proud of following a season of triumphs, including a fourth consecutive regional championship.
"I just told the girls that they need to be proud of everything they accomplished this season, that they can't hang their heads on this one loss," coach Alex Clarke said. "To be 21-2 is pretty remarkable. We have to give credit to Westminster, who showed up and gave us everything they've got. I tried to tell my girls that they just need to celebrate what we have accomplished."
Behind those 21 wins were a force of senior starters, including Blain, Lange and Greene.
Ellie Blain led the team with 420 kills, and Lauren Lange added 192 kills.
Both will continue their volleyball careers at the college level, with Blain committed to play at Dartmouth and Lange set to play at Bowdoin College in Maine.
Fellow senior Sierra Barron notched 875 assists on the season, while Heather Sley had 291 digs for Benjamin.
"I think, as a team, we really grew close to each other," Sley said. "With six seniors, we were really close from the beginning, but there were a couple of moments this season where we realized that we have what it takes. It's not the outcome that we wanted, but I'm really proud of us anyways."
Westminster Christian advances to the Class 3A state championship game where it will face Cardinal Mooney on Nov. 16 in Fort Myers.
The last time Benjamin missed out on a state championship match, it lost to Westminster Christian in a 2015 regional semifinal.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Benjamin’s opponent. It was Westminster Christian. The Palm Beach Post regrets the error.