Girls volleyball: Geneva, St. Charles North win with ease
By avenging one loss Tuesday, Geneva's volleyball team gets a chance to avenge another Thursday.
The Vikings reversed a regular season loss to Batavia in convincing fashion, beating the Bulldogs 25-14, 25-11 in the Class 4A St. Charles North regional semifinals.
That earns No. 3 seed Geneva (20-16) a date in the regional championship against No. 1 St. Charles North who defeated Streamwood in the first semifinal.
"If our kids show up and compete like this it's going to be a heck of a match," Geneva coach Annie Seitelman said of Thursday's title matchup.
"When you play them early in the season you want to get better. We want to be peaking come postseason time. We didn't show up and compete the first time (against Batavia) as well as we did tonight. Our kids remembered that. They didn't like that feeling. It's a motivator."
Trailing 5-4 early, Emma Davine had one of her 5 blocks followed by an ace from Eli Ford that started a 5-0 run and opened a 9-5 lead.
Geneva did almost everything right after that including some sparkling play in the back row from Grace Hinchman (15 digs) scrambling to keep balls alive that were eventually put away by a combination of Devynn Day, Rachel Silvestri and Ford.
That trio combined for 10 kills in the first set while Batavia had just 2 as a team.
"Wow did Geneva play well," Batavia coach Lori Trippi-Payne said. "We didn't have an offense. Geneva blocks very well but we didn't do a good job mixing things up in terms of our shot selection.
"We weren't supposed to be hitting to her (Hinchman). The game plan wasn't to give Hinchman a lot of digs. We beat them last time by not hitting the ball to Hinchman. She's really good."
Hinchman provided one of the highlights of the second set by somehow keeping a rocket shot by Batavia alive and extending a point that Silvestri eventually ended with a kill for a 15-7 lead.
"Those are such energy builders and momentum builders when we were able to get some of those out-of-system balls back over," Seitelman said. "Our girls came ready to play tonight and it showed."
Piper Drazek set 16 assists and Anna Loberg served 2 aces.
Silvestri and Ford both finished with 7 kills and Day had 6 while combining for just 3 hitting errors.
"We just came out ready to play this time," Day said. "Last time we didn't come out like we should have. We really connected with our setters and it worked really well."
Batavia finished 14-22, the opposite of last year. The Bulldogs graduate five seniors -- Maddy Boyer, Emily Acquaviva, Olivia Greco, Becca Robinson and Sam Juarez.
Boyer, headed to Valparaiso, led Batavia with 4 kills and Northern Illinois-bound Juarez had 11 digs. Lauren Haefer added 6 digs and 3 kills.
"We're going to miss all five of them," Trippi-Payne said.
St. Charles North d. Streamwood: The North Stars needed just 30 minutes for a 25-6, 25-9 win over Streamwood in the first semifinal Tuesday.
St. Charles North (30-6) served 10 aces in the first set. Ashley Bruns had four of them including three in a row during a 10-0 run that opened a 13-2 lead. Two of those serves hit the net and dropped softly just on the Sabres side.
"We worked really hard to get back on our feet (after a loss to Wheaton Warrenville South last week) and I think that showed today," North Star middle Cailey Johns said.
Katie Lanz also landed a couple aces off her jump serve. Six different North Stars had at least one ace, and they closed out each set with an ace -- Kyla Lannert in the first set and Bruns to end the match.
"The bus ride was great, they were very focused, they were ready to go," Streamwood coach Sheryl Hettinger said. "They wanted to play. But we just got intimidated. You could see it on our faces. We can't let that set in. You have to fight to the end."
Lanz led the North Stars with 6 kills, Gigi Crescenzo had 4, and Lannert and Lauren Ringess 3.
Streamwood finished the season at 7-28. Ava Sumoski had a kill in the first set and Mariely Sotelo one in the second.
"These girls just love volleyball," Hettinger said. "It's their passion. It's not just about winning or losing. That's why I wish tonight win or lose you just play to your fullest. That's when you are going to have fun. Last night (win over Elgin) they had a lot of fun. Good for them. We haven't won a regional game for quite awhile."