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updated: 9/2/2011 10:52 AM

Geneva crashes Neuqua Valley's comfort zone

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  • Neuqua Valley's Callie Huebener hits from the outside during Thursday's game in Geneva.

       Neuqua Valley's Callie Huebener hits from the outside during Thursday's game in Geneva.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Geneva's Elle Weinstein dinks the ball over a pair of Neuqua Valley blockers during Thursday's game in Geneva.

       Geneva's Elle Weinstein dinks the ball over a pair of Neuqua Valley blockers during Thursday's game in Geneva.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Neuqua Valley's Kaitlynn Novak goes up for the block of a hit by Geneva's Melissa Hanika during Thursday's game in Geneva.

       Neuqua Valley's Kaitlynn Novak goes up for the block of a hit by Geneva's Melissa Hanika during Thursday's game in Geneva.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Geneva's Melissa Hanika, left, and Taylor Otto go up to block a spike by Neuqua Valley's Callie Huebener during Thursday's game in Geneva.

       Geneva's Melissa Hanika, left, and Taylor Otto go up to block a spike by Neuqua Valley's Callie Huebener during Thursday's game in Geneva.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Geneva's Tess Forneris hits the ball past Neuqua Valley's Taylor McKeown during Thursday's game in Geneva.

       Geneva's Tess Forneris hits the ball past Neuqua Valley's Taylor McKeown during Thursday's game in Geneva.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 

Geneva's rowdy student fans jumped up and down on the bleachers yelling, "We believe that we will win."

They might have been the only ones after the first set. They had company in the end.

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The Vikings bounced back from a one-sided first set to knock off Neuqua Valley 11-25, 25-23, 25-21 on Thursday in Geneva.

Morgan Stasell's seventh kill snapped a 21-21 tie in the third set. From there the Vikings junior served out the match.

"I was worried after that first game," Stasell said. "We had a lot more energy the second game. We just gave it all we got."

Sophomore Noelle Eveland knocked down a kill off a Neuqua Valley overpass to make it 23-21, and after a Neuqua hitting error Eveland rose for her fourth kill off another overpass for match point.

"I think we got real comfortable after Game 1 and we weren't ready for the push," Neuqua coach Kelly Simon said, "and they pushed us."

Neuqua (6-4) looked poised for a walk in the park after the first set. The Wildcats put together runs of 9-2 and 6-0, their superior height dominating the net with 10 kills and a block.

The tide may have tipped at the start of the second set, when Neuqua errors gave Geneva 5 of its first 7 points -- 3 on Wildcats service errors.

"Start of Game 2, we had 4 service errors and a setting error within 6 points," Simon said. "That's more service errors than we have in matches almost ever. That's a whole lot of points to give up."

The two teams traded the lead 10 times in the second set and tugged and pulled to 17 ties, the last at 21-21 on a big kill by Neuqua's Leighanne Novak.

Geneva (2-1) answered with a kill of its own followed by an Eveland ace to make it 23-21. Vikings junior Taylor Otto blocked Neuqua in the middle for the set.

"We had kids step up that haven't had an opportunity in our first two matches," Geneva coach KC Johnsen said.

"I've been telling them all we are very balanced; we have so many people for so many spots. It's a pretty even split. Our kids really responded those second and third games."

Neuqua led 15-12 in the third set after McKeown and Novak kills, and a kill by the Wildcats' DePaul-bound outside Callie Huebener made it 16-15 Neuqua.

Geneva wouldn't go away, though.

Hannah Buck and Melissa Hanika both had 7 kills for Geneva, a pair of Hanika kills tying the score at 19-19 and 20-20 in the third.

"This is a big win for us," Johnsen said. "Neuqua always has a very good team and we have a lot of respect for their program."

For Neuqua Taylor McKeown had 13 kills, Brooke Antenen 8 kills, 2 blocks and 14 assists and Huebener 7 kills and 17 digs. Leighanne Novak had 5 kills and 2 aces and Kat Novak 2 kills and 3 blocks.

"To give them credit they had kills and a block and 2 aces for point 10 all the way to point 25 in the third game," Simon said. "Geneva's kids were pushing with every ounce of their being and they executed real well."

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