No. 1 in the state? No. 7 in the nation?
Well, nobody's perfect.
Benet's 2010 debut gave credence to the adage that games are won on the court, not in the media (print, web or otherwise). The Redwings were awful Tuesday in their 25-19, 25-23 loss to visiting St. Charles East, committing 18 errors (unofficially) in Game 1 and almost 10 more in Game 2.
"We counted 20 errors in the first game," Benet coach Brad Baker said. "The game is only to 25."
Trailing 17-14 in Game 2, Benet was also penalized a point when two players tried to substitute after the referee whistled play to begin. About the only thing that did go right for the Redwings' was Lara Ontko's ace off the tape down 21-19.
Benet did rally from a 20-15 deficit in Game 2 -- after squandering a 12-9 lead under the weight of a 7-0 run by St. Charles East -- to tie at 22-22. But guess what? A Benet service error gave St. Charles East the lead for keeps.
"We did clean it up a little bit in Game 2," Baker said. "St. Charles East played well. Give credit to them."
At least Benet can take solace in the fact that they were not the only nationally-ranked team to go down in the first week of the season. At least not within a couple hundred miles.
In Indiana, defending state champion Muncie Central, ranked No. 26 in the nation and No. 2 in the state, lost to unheralded Yorktown in five sets last week (Indiana's season opened a week earlier than Illinois').
Yorktown pulled off the stunner despite graduating five starters from last year's Class 3A runner-up. At least St. Charles East returns all but two starters from last year's supersectional qualifier.
Benet will try to redeem itself this weekend when it hosts the Benet invitational which features York, Lemont, Hinsdale Central and Waubonsie Valley.
Evanston is off to a 2-0 starter after beating Loyola Wednesday. The Wildkits will be a tall order for most teams with 6-3 Casey Durham (11 kills vs. the Ramblers) and 6-2 Maddie Fitzpatrick (eight kills, five blocks) patrolling the net.
Marian Central is also 2-0 after defeating Glenbard West and St. Joseph at Wheaton North Wednesday. Marian could make a push to get downstate in Class 3A if the IHSA continues to route it away from the Crystal Lake schools.
Finally, far south siders are marking their calendars for Tuesday, September 14. That's when Mother McAuey and Marist collide on 115th and Kedzie. This game means nothing (Marist has yet to prove it can beat McAuley in the state tournament) -- and everyting (the winner does get bragging rights for two months or until they meet again).