That powerful blocking squad lost 24 matches this fall?
Hardly seems possible watching the net play of 6-foot middle hitter Alaina Geissberger and 6-foot-1 right side hitter Joanna Guhl.
Grayslake North (12-24) never trailed on Monday night and ended Grant’s season 25-20, 25-16 in the opening round of the North Regional. The Knights get invited back on Tuesday to battle McHenry, the top seed in the regional, at 6 p.m.
“We never had won a regional game so we wanted this one,’’ Guhl said. “We’ve really grown as a team. We went through some changes in the middle of the season and we’ve come together.”
North raced to an 18-11 lead in set one but with Kayla Uhwat serving for the Bulldogs (16-18), Grant cut the lead to 21-18. A kill from Beka Couch (7 kills) helped. But that was as close as Grant would come. Grant coach Sue Thompson wondered what happened to her team that won four of five matches in the Crosstown Classic held this past weekend.
“We are obviously disappointed,” Thompson said. “We played like we were intimidated. I thought things would be different.”
Another Couch kill cut the home team’s lead to 22-19. Melanie Aiken’s kill ended the first set in North’s favor.
Set two was maybe harder to watch for Grant fans. That’s when North setter Lisa Lowry started serving. Geissberger had 3 kills during her Lowry’s turn at the line. Add another kill from Guhl and suddenly it was 8-0.
“We did a good job,” Geissberger said. “And we played some good defense.”
On this special night for the Knights, Geissberger registered 8 blocks.
Setter Lowry notched 16 assists and earned a compliment from teammate Guhl as well.
“She’s amazing,” Guhl said. “Her setting was wonderful.”
Back on their heels, the Bulldogs answered with a kill from Anna Panasenko that cut the North lead to 17-9. Grant had more brief rally with Deanna Rodriguez at the serving line. A nice kill from Brooke Buckley cut the lead to 22-13. Buckley added 6 kills for Grant.
Lowry’s kill ended this match.
North coach Nikki Kirchway pointed to a recent match with Grayslake Central as an example that the Knights are on the right track.
“We are peaking at the right time,” Kirchway said. “Our serve reception has really improved. We didn’t let anything drop.”
North senior outside hitter Kelsey Klausner played well early in the match and notched 5 kills. She was especially helpful on defense for the Knights registering 16 digs. Guhl had 7 kills. Aiken chipped in 5 more kills. Grant setter Taylor Rossi finished with 13 assists.
In the second match of the night, Zion-Benton ended Round Lake’s season 25-16, 25-13.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.