Girls vollleyball: Geneva comes from behind to beat Batavia
A Batavia-Geneva rivalry match at noon Monday? Chalk up another unusual storyline to this 2020-21 high school season like none before.
That's how the Batavia and Geneva girls volleyball players spent the first day of their spring break Monday at Batavia.
"It's definitely different but we get what we get so we have to make the most of it," said Geneva senior outside hitter Devynn Day after the Vikings rallied for a 14-25, 25-23, 25-20 victory.
The match ended much better than it started for Geneva (5-1, 4-1 in the DuKane Conference), who fell behind quickly as Batavia (2-2, 2-2) had its entire game clicking in the opening set.
First-year Batavia coach McKenna Kelsay said the team had prioritized the first few points after a couple sluggish starts this season. The Bulldogs did just that, never trailing in the first set.
Kyra Taylor's kill put Batavia up 7-1, and the spread reached double figures at 15-5 when Brianna Picchietti put a ball down. Taylor closed the set with an ace, one of eight on the day for Batavia who had just three service errors.
"They came out ready to play and we didn't," Day said. "They made a lot of good plays and they were moving us around a lot."
Geneva senior Anna Loberg got the Vikings off to a better start in the second set, taking a free ball from Batavia and smashing it back for a winner. A few moments later up 11-7, Loberg stepped to the service line and scored seven straight, three on aces, to make it 18-7.
Batavia rallied, using a 14-2 run to go up 21-20 on a Geneva attack error. Vikings coach Annie Seitelman called her final timeout.
"I said it's a push to five," Seitelman said. "This is where the grit, the heart, that stuff comes in. You have to want the ball, that mentality of playing to win and not to lose. Want to be confident and stay aggressive."
Leah Davine did just that, her block on the next point tying the score. After a Batavia hitting error, Raegan Lubben served an ace and Loberg set Madilyn Danielson for a kill and a 24-22 lead. Picchietti kept Batavia alive with a kill before a big swing from Day gave Geneva a 25-23 win.
After a back-and-forth start to the third set, Geneva took the lead for good at 16-15 when Danielson's tip found a hole in Batavia's defense. Another kill from Danielson, Ryann Bahnline's block and a Batavia error gave the Vikings a 19-15 lead.
The Bulldogs didn't get closer than three points despite a couple winners by Amanda Otten, and the match ended when Batavia hit into the net.
Day led both teams with 13 kills, Danielson had 11, and Davine and Lauren Benson both added 5.
"The second and third set we were digging balls finally and being able to transition some of those," Seitelman said.
Taylor and Zoe Kramer had 6 kills for Batavia, Taily Kledzik finished with 8 digs and Cordelia Smith served 2 aces. It's the second straight three-set loss for Batavia after Wheaton Warrenville South defeated them Thursday.
"We were swinging, we were doing things well, that was a good first set," Kelsay said. "Geneva really picked it up and started swinging hard and playing great defense.
"When we get to that 20-20 spot, how can we push through those last couple points instead of maybe getting nervous or getting riled up? What can we do just to play our game? We did a better job than last week. We just made a couple mistakes there and they just capitalized on it."