Girls volleyball: Geneva surges to win at St. Charles North
Geneva's volleyball team carried a little extra incentive into Monday night's DuKane Conference match against host St. Charles North.
Nearly 10 ½ months ago, the Vikings' season came to an end following a straight-set Class 4A regional championship loss to the North Stars.
Geneva (7-3, 2-0) made its return to St. Charles North a triumphant one, knocking off the North Stars 25-18, 27-25.
"There was a lot of motivation behind this," said junior outside hitter Cassidy Brown, who led the Vikings with 11 kills and 11 digs. "It was kind of a revenge game for us returning players."
Geneva got off to slow starts in both sets, falling behind 7-4 in the opener before going on a 7-1 run to grab an 11-8 lead.
The surge included 3 kills from Brown and a block stuff at the net by 6-foot outside hitter Devynn Day (8 kills).
After the North Stars closed the gap to 11-10, the Vikings reeled off 9 of the next 12 points to take control behind back-to-back put-downs from Day and Brown's tip kill.
Eight hitting errors and a pair of service errors proved costly for the North Stars in the opening set.
"Offensively, we've got to be better," said North Stars coach Lindsey Hawkins. "Our defense and our serve receive were solid again tonight. We just needed to be a little better and more consistent offensively.
"It wasn't just hitting errors -- sometimes it was setting errors."
The North Stars enjoyed another good start in the second set, taking an 8-5 lead on a block from sophomore Riley Moreno.
From there, Geneva pulled to within a point at 10-9 before going on an 8-1 run to grab a 17-11 advantage.
Brown and Day each powered a pair of kills while junior setter Anna Loberg (17 assists) delivered a service ace during the midgame surge.
St. Charles North battled back, scoring 6 of the next 7 points behind consecutive kills from Kyla Lannert (4 kills, 8 digs) and another kill from Mia Dela Merced to close within 18-17.
A block from sophomore middle Marissa Guajardo and senior Lauren Ringness' kill put the North Stars on top, 20-19.
From there, the score was tied 6 more times, the last coming at 25-25 before the Vikings sealed the deal, scoring on consecutive North rotation and net violations.
"Unfortunate timing but I'll take it," Geneva coach Annie Seitelman said of the late North Stars' miscues. "We didn't start to play timid or down when the match got tight.
"This is a big conference win. North is a great team. It's tough when you play so early in the season because this could come back to end up being a conference championship game."
Playing with reckless abandon, senior libero Grace Hinchman added 10 digs for the Vikings.
"Grace made some phenomenal digs like always," said Seitelman. "It's so nice to have that anchor in your backcourt."
Junior Ally Warburton paced the North Stars (6-6, 1-1) with 7 kills.
"To play each other so early, it's kind of a bummer but it's also good because we know we're playing tough teams right now," said Hawkins. "We're getting better."