Girls volleyball: St. Charles North takes down Geneva
It took St. Charles North a little while to start playing like the No. 1 ranked team in the Daily Herald Top 20, but the North Stars eventually did Tuesday night at Geneva.
After a sluggish start in the first set, the North Stars closed strong and then controlled the next one for a 25-22, 25-16 victory.
"We started off slow, our energy wasn't there," senior middle Brigid McCarthy said. "We were a little shaky. (Coach Lindsey) Hawk (Hawkins) told us not to worry about anything, have fun."
It's easier to have fun when you have Gigi Crescenzo and Katie Lanz on your side, the North Stars' Division I duo, headed to Memphis and UNC-Wilmington, respectively.
Crescenzo was especially sharp at the start of the second set with a kill, an ace, a kill from the back row and then another ace on four straight points to erase a 3-1 Geneva lead and put the North Stars up 5-3.
Moments later McCarthy blocked a ball that made it 14-7 as Vikings coach Anne Seitelman took time.
"She (Crescenzo) and Katie both take some great swings," Seitelman said. "Any time you play them you know we are going to key in on them. Their setters did a nice job of distributing to keep our blockers honest."
Crescenzo finished with 3 aces, 9 kills and 15 digs, and Lanz had 7 kills, 8 digs and 9 assists.
With Lanz serving on match point, she fired a rocket jump serve that Geneva passed over the net where Crescenzo was waiting to slam it down and end the match.
"Gigi knows how to put a ball away," McCarthy said. "And Katie is a calming influence on the court."
"She (Lanz) appreciates every pass and set," junior libero Maddie Gorniak said. "She's a great teammate.
"We rely on them but they also rely on us."
Geneva (6-5, 1-1 in the DuKane Conference) rallied from a 13-9 deficit in the opening set to a 16-16 tie when Anna Loberg set Devynn Day for a kill.
St. Charles North (11-1, 2-0) went ahead to stay on the next point, a Lanz assist to Kyla Lannert, and Lannert's ensuing block made it 18-16.
A kill from Eli Ford kept the Vikings in it at 24-22 before Lannert set Cailey Johns in the middle to close the first set.
"It looked really tense and uptight," Hawkins said of the first set. "They were not playing our normal volleyball. We were not playing defense together. We usually flow so well on defense. We talked about just needing to loosen up. To Geneva's credit they blocked really well tonight and I think that surprised Gigi and Katie and Kyla."
Lannert added 5 kills, 13 assists and 8 digs for the North Stars.
Ford (6 kills), Rachel Silvestri (5 kills, 2 blocks), Grace Hinchman (16 digs), Alix Rittenberg (7 digs), Piper Drazek (9 assists), Loberg (8 assists), Day (4 kills, 3 blocks) and Emma Davine (3 kills) led Geneva.
"Definitely a step in the right direction from last Thursday (a loss to Rosary)," Seitelman said.
"North is a great team and to compete as close as we did in the first set, I'm pleased with the effort. The second set we let them go on too many runs."