SOUTH ELGIN – With only three seniors on a squad that also includes three sophomores and two freshmen to go along with six juniors, Geneva girls volleyball coach KC Johnsen was curious to see how his team would respond to some adversity.
He got an answer Thursday in Upstate Eight Conference crossover action with South Elgin.
The Vikings easily won Game 1, 25-15, and then fell behind 7-4 in the second game. But Geneva responded with a 7-0 run to take an 11-7 lead and never gave up the advantage to complete the Upstate Eight Conference crossover victory with a 25-20 win in Game 2.
“In Game 1, we were making a few too many errors, but they didn’t show up because South Elgin was on about the same level,” Johnsen said. “In the second game South Elgin started out a little stronger while we stayed at the same level.
“Then we started to straighten things out and take better care of the ball. It was nice to see how the kids responded [to some adversity] in a game as opposed to in practice.”
Geneva (2-0) took a 4-1 lead in Game 1, let South Elgin (0-1) back in for a bit at 7-6, but then used a 4-0 run to get some breathing room. Hannah Lanasa had a kill and Kelsey Wicinski an ace during the run.
Kyley Thompson’s kill increased the lead to 16-10, and a service point and ace from Megan Cameron gave the Vikings a 19-11 advantage.
Junior Maddie Courter’s kill closed out the game.
“In Game 1 we had some pretty good hits, some pretty good defense,” Lanasa said. “The second game was a little iffy. I think we kind of easy-upped, but we came back.”
In Game 2, the Vikings erased the Storm’s early lead thanks in part to a block-kill by Taylor Marmitt, a kill from Grace Loberg and a Lanasa block-kill.
Geneva took a 20-12 lead before the Storm had one last rally in it, using three aces to trim the lead to 20-16.
However, the Vikings rebounded and closed out the match on a Loberg kill.
“We did a lot better tonight compared to [a win Tuesday against Rosary],” Lanasa said. “We were talking a lot more, we had a lot more defensive control and our blocking was very good. Overall, we played really well.
“We all get along pretty well, so the mix of young players and older players is not a big deal. We are comfortable with each other.”
Loberg, a freshman, and Lanasa led Geneva with five kills each and Thompson had four. Courtney Caruso had six assists and Cameron four.
“This is very good group, very hard-working,” Johnsen said. “They are going to get used to each other, used to their setter. I think we will get better as the year goes on.
“We’ve got a little more size than the past few years, and certainly enough athleticism and skill that if we keep improving as the season goes along, I think we’ll be OK.”