DuPage and Fox girls volleyball notes: Geneva's making noise in DuKane Conference race; IC impresses at Wheaton Classic

In what would appear to be a wide open race for the DuKane Conference girls volleyball championship this fall, Geneva has made a statement recently that it intends to be in the conversation.

The Vikings improved to 12-6 overall and 2-1 in the DKC with a win over Glenbard North, their fifth win in their last seven matches.

Included in those five wins is a victory over rival St. Charles North at the Wheaton Classic last weekend.

"We have been playing well," said Geneva coach Lauren Kosecki. "We have been working hard to constantly be playing together, giving 100% effort, and staying locked in the entire match."

Senior middle Charlotte Potvin and junior outside Sam Vanda have been mainstays for the Vikings, Kosecki said. Vanda leads the team with 3.1 kills per set, while Potvin averages 2.3. Vanda had 10 kills and 5 digs in the win over SCN and in a victory over Naperville North on Monday, Potvin had 8 kills and Vanda had 9 kills and 7 digs.

Wrapping up Wheaton:

Benet's impressive run to the Wheaton Classic title, which culminated by handing defending Class 4A champ Marist its first loss of the season in the title match, overshadowed the performance of IC Catholic Prep, the smallest school in the 24-team field. Coach Nancy Kerrigan's Knights finished third in the tournament, losing only to Marist in the semifinals.

"Over the past three years in the Wheaton Classic, we have gone from the bottom of the bronze bracket, to the top of the silver bracket, and now to a third-place finish overall," Kerrigan said. "Our team understands why we put ourselves in a tournament like this - where we have the opportunity to compete against some of the top big schools/programs in the area. I am super proud of how hard they fought to earn a top spot."

In bracket play, which included wins over WW South and Lincoln-Way East, Ava Falduto: (23 kills, 24 digs, 7 assists, 4 service aces, 2 blocks, Lucy Russ (51 assists, 17 digs, 6 service aces, 12 kills), Delilah Hyland (6 digs, 8 kills, 4 blocks), Emily Carling (21 kills, 12 digs, 3 assists, 1 block), and Alysa Lawton (30 digs, 1 service ace, 3 assists led the way for ICCP (14-2).

"We know what we need to do to compete at a very high level, so we will take that back and use it to reach the remainder of our goals for this season," said Kerrigan, whose team finished second in Class 2A last year. "This is an amazing group of young ladies with very high expectations, so I am excited to see where they will take us."

Cogs are at it again:

Speaking of Class 2A, the team that beat ICCP in last year's state title match, Genoa-Kingston, hasn't slowed down any this year either. After beating Burlington Central in the title match of the Hampshire tournament last weekend, the Cogs stood at 21-1 for the season, their only loss coming to St. Charles North on Aug. 29.

Coached by former Elgin coach Keith Foster, G-K is led by Tennessee Tech commit Alayna Pierce, a 5-11 outside, 5-8 libero Hannah Langton, the niece of former Huntley softball assistant coach Matt Langton, and 5-9 middle Rylie Stoffgren. Uncommitted senior Alivia Keegan is considered one of the best setters in the state.

But, there will be a twist:

The IHSA released postseason assignments earlier this week and IC Catholic has been sent west, where the Knights will potentially have to beat Genoa on the Cogs' home court to win a sectional. Also included in that field will be Timothy Christian, which will then host a supersectional.

All-tourney teams:

Benet junior libero Aniya Warren earned MVP honors at the Wheaton Classic. Other area players on the all-tournament team included: Audrey Asleson (Benet, OH, Junior), Rebecca Bellows (WW South, S, Senior), Ava Falduto (IC Catholic, OH/L, Senior), Sam Miserendino (Waubonsie Valley, L, Senior), Maddie Mlady (WW South, OH, Senior), Camille Morrison (Metea Valley, OH, Senior), Ava Novak (Benet, OH, Senior), and Emma Quast (Hinsdale Central, OH, Senior).

•Glenbard West (20-1) won its own invite over the weekend, beating Kaneland in the title match. The all-tournament team included Marin Johnson (Glenbard West, MVP), Breccan Scheck (Glenbard West), Rosie Karl (Kaneland), Mia Vassallo (Kaneland), Kaileigh Krawiec (Lake Park), Amira Boone (DePaul College Prep), Megan Spiekermann (Fremd), Lorelai Francis (Glenbard West JV), Alexandra Fediner (Hinsdale South) and Sophia Sommesi (Glenbard East).

•Sophomore Hope Wagner and senior Julia Waltimre of Aurora Christian were selected to the all-tournament team at Harvest Christian, where the Eagles (13-4-2) landed in second place, losing to host Harvest (11-4) in the title match. Wagner had 47 kills last week for AC, while Madalynn Johnson added 30 digs and 57 reception passes, Breanna Hard (So) had 12 aces, and Jada Haymon 11 solo blocks.

•St. Edward's Caitlyn Madsen and Taryn Lemezis were also all-tourney selections at Harvest.

One to keep an eye on:

Wheaton North (8-13) continues to search for consistent play, but the rise of 6-foot sophomore OH Mary Kate Whittington this past week at the Wheaton Classic has been encouraging, Falcons coach Justin Hineman reported. Whittington passed a 2.0 in serve receive while contributing 21 kills (including 8 kills on 15 attempts vs. Lincoln-Way East), 4 blocks, and 4 digs at the Wheaton Classic.

Neuqua Valley update:

The Wildcats (6-8) suffered a big loss early in the season with returning OH starter Bri Clausen going down with a knee injury. "However, we haven't lost our grit," said Wildcats coach Jamie Buhnerkemper. "Many of our losses are to great programs where we have battled and taken half of those losses in three. Having players in new positions and new leaders has shown its ups and downs but we are working though the adversity.

"New to varsity, senior setter Sophia Kane shows huge grit with her work ethic and energy. She is a nice balance to freshman setter (6-2) Aubrey Dumstorff."

Buhnerkemper has also been pleased with the play of Alyssa Jones (returning junior libero) and Eleanor O'Neal (returning starter), who the coach said has proved to be a huge force on the right side.

"Even though we are young to the varsity level, any game is within arm's reach with this group and we will continue to grow quickly throughout the season," Buhnerkemper said.

Benet Academy's girls volleyball team won the Wheaton Classic this past weekend. COURTESY OF BRAD BAKER
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