AURORA – The Geneva and Rosary girls volleyball teams looked to be close to midseason form in Tuesday’s season opener.
The Vikings had to stave off two rigorous rallies, not to mention a raucous crowd, to hold off the host Royals, 25-21, 25-22, Tuesday night in nonconference action.
“The crowd was pretty loud and I give credit to Rosary for having such a good crowd,” said Vikings senior middle hitter Taylor Marmitt, who finished with four kills and two digs, “but I think it just took a little time for us to get used to the surroundings and used to each other and once we did that, we played very well as a team.”
The first game saw nine ties and four lead changes with neither team gaining much of an advantage.
Setter Megan Cameron’s service ace helped Geneva finish off the first game with a 5-2 run. Cameron had five aces.
“Megan’s had a great serve since she was a little kid so there was no surprise there,” Geneva coach KC Johnsen said. “She was pretty agressive with it and was very accurate. We’re not going to ask her to go out and get five aces every night, but we’ll count on her to score some points for us which she did a great job of tonight.”
In the second game, freshman Grace Loberg spotted the Vikings a quick 3-0 lead on back-to-back kills and Geneva later pushed its advantage to 11-4 on a block-kill from Marmitt.
Rosary pieced together a 9-6 run to pull within 17-13 on a Geneva hitting error.
Another Viking mistake and a kill from Michaela Ping closed the gap to 18-17, but Cameron was there with a service ace to put the momentum back in Geneva’s favor at 20-17 after Loberg’s sixth and final kill of the contest.
“It was great the way the game kept going back and forth and you’d think with freshmen and inexperienced players things would fall by the wayside,” Rosary coach Rachel Hartmann said. “But our girls stayed mentally strong and there was never really a huge gap of points, wich was great to see.”
Outside hitter Nina Valaitis led Rosary with 12 kills, eight digs and two blocks while Josephine Gallagher dished out 14 assists.
Courtney Caruso led Geneva with 14 assists as well, while Kelsey Wicinski contributed 11 digs.
Hartmann considered it a solid opening night despite the result.
“I hate to lose but it’s the first match and it’s early in the season,” Hartmann said. “Our girls will definitely learn from this.”