The Benedictine University Mesa men's volleyball team felt a sting unlike any other sting nearly one year ago after they fell in the NAIA National Championship match in 2018.
All year, they talked about unfinished business, how nothing else matters but finishing what they started last year. Consider the business finished.
The Redhawks redemption tour finished on Saturday, April 20, as they claimed the first NAIA National Title in school history by defeating No. 6 Aquinas, 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-14), in the NAIA National Tournament Championship match in Des Moines, Iowa.
BenU Mesa was locked in a tight one to start the match against Aquinas, as both teams battled back and forth until the frame was tied at 22-all. That's when the veteran Redhawks club buckled down, scoring the next three points on a kill from Devin Hill, a kill from Wyatt Henson and a block from Hill and Bobby Henige to finish off the frame and give themselves a 1-0 match lead.
The Redhawks pulled away in the middle portion on set two, scoring five-straight points on Jesus Izaguirre's serve to turn a 14-13 lead into a 20-13 lead on their way to claiming the second set, 25-20.
From there it was all BenU Mesa, as the offense tallied 14 kills to just one error in the third set, hitting .464 as a team. Treven Clizbe put the final point down on a set from Jaron Jones and the party was on for the Redhawk faithful.
BenU Mesa played to their gameplan the whole contest, as three Redhawks tallied double-digit kills, led by Henige and Hill's 11-kill nights, and the team as a whole hit .367. Jones finished with 37 assists and Jesus Izaguirre was a monster in the back row, collecting 20 digs in the championship effort.
Adcock was named NAIA Tournament MVP for his performances over the five matches this weekend, while Henige and Jones were named to the All-Tournament team. Sportsman of the Year honors went to senior Aaron Ritchey and the Tournament Coach of the Year went to Ray Lewis.
The men's volleyball program continues to break ground for the Benedictine athletic department, becoming the first program to claim an NAIA Championship in the five-year history of BenU Mesa Athletics. They finished the season with a program-record 26 wins.
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the eighth consecutive year in 2018. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ben.edu.