Geneva ran out of options against DeKalb senior standout Emily Bemis.
The Barbs' Arizona-bound outside hitter had the last of her match-high 15 kills to close out the tiebreaker between the former league rivals as DeKalb outlasted the Vikings 25-23, 20-25 and 25-21 in a non-conference girls volleyball battle Thursday night in Geneva.
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"It was a great volleyball match," Geneva coach KC Johnsen said. "I wish we would have come out on top."
In the decisive third set, Bemis' 4-point service run was later answered by a Geneva 5-1 spurt to forge the second of eight eventual ties.
Geneva (7-3), which was led by exclusively front-row hitters Hannah Buck and Elle Weinstein, clawed and fought its way back into the third game on several occasions.
The Vikings would ultimately take its largest third-game lead at 13-11, but the Barbs' Bemis and senior classmate Jessica Schafer painstakingly exerted their considerable will over the contest.
With bodies flying in all directions throughout the marathon, three-set match, it was Schaefer who had two critical blocks for points as Geneva desperately sought to stay alive.
The second Schafer block brought DeKalb (7-2) to match point, and Bemis' powerful kill two points later had robbed the Vikings of their comeback attempt.
"(Bemis) is on my club team (Kane County Juniors)," Johnsen said. "We weren't intimidated by (her collegiate destination). I thought we did a great job of defending. We needed to win a few more of the 'goofy' points."
Buck and Weinstein had 8 and 5 kills, respectively, to lead the Geneva offense.
"I think we kind of let up on some balls," Buck said. "(Bemis) was able to hit between the seam and the block."
The largest lead for either team in the three games was 4 points, and Geneva forced a rubber game through offensive balance, solid serving and a cohesive chemistry.
Sophomore outside hitter Noelle Eveland wrapped up the Vikings' second-game victory with a vicious kill.
In the opener, neither team gave any quarter as DeKalb scored the final 2 points of the match to snap the last of nine ties.
The three games all had a similar tenor, but Geneva had no way to contain Bemis down the stretch.
"There was always someone staying positive," Bemis said. "All I think of (on offense) is go up and swing as hard as you can."
Geneva libero Ashleigh Shain (16) and Nicole Schneider (12) combined for 28 digs to lead the Vikings' defensive effort.