GENEVA – The Geneva girls volleyball team battled through oppressive heat to defeat four teams and win the first game from Joliet Catholic in the final of the Geneva Invite on Saturday.
But Joliet Catholic stepped up to the challenge, took the second game and went on to win the third to claim the championship match, 20-25, 25-21, 25-15.
The second-place Vikings finished the invite 4-1 and moved to 7-2 on the season.
“The last couple of years we had a really difficult time doing well in this tournament, so we pushed as hard and played the best we could, so it’s a tough loss,” Geneva setter Courtney Caruso said.
“They had a lot of energy and pushed really hard. We’re all tired from all the matches, and we let it get to us. They pushed through it and started pounding balls.
“When you’re tired physically, it really becomes a mental battle. We couldn’t push through, but we did the best we could, and I’m proud of our team.”
In Game 1 against Joliet Catholic, Geneva used a 6-0 run to turn a 13-12 deficit into an 18-13 lead. Taylor Marmitt had a kill and Kyley Thompson a service point during the spurt.
The Vikings closed out Game 1 on a block-kill by Maddie Courter.
Game 2 was tied as late as 19-19 on a kill by Marmitt, but Joliet Catholic staved off elimination by winning the game.
The deciding game was tight early, but slowly Joliet Catholic pulled away. The Vikings trailed, 16-12, before getting outscored 9-3 to end the match. On the final point, Geneva sent the wrong player back to serve, handing Joliet Catholic the winning point.
“(Joliet Catholic) really doesn’t have a low place to go to,” Vikings coach KC Johnsen said. “When they’re a little off,they’re still pretty good. When we were off, they kind of took advantage.
“We’re about the second happiest we can be. We had a good day, played pretty well.”
Hannah Lanasa (28 kills), Kelsey Wicinski (51 digs), Caruso (55 assists) and Courter (eight blocks) helped paced the Vikings for the day.
Burlington Central finished fourth after losing to DeKalb, 25-10, 25-20, in the third-place match. Aurora Central Catholic ended up sixth after losing the fifth-place match, 25-22, 25-23, to Morris, and Geneva’s JV squad took seventh after winning the seventh-place match, 25-14, 25-13, over IMSA.
In the semifinals, Geneva defeated DeKalb, 25-19, 25-21, Burlington Central lost to Joliet Catholic, 25-20, 25-15; Geneva JV lost to Morris, 25-27, 25-14, 26-14 and ACC defeated IMSA, 25-13, 25-15.
In pool play, Geneva defeated Burlington Central, 25-22, 25-18; Illinois Math and Science Academy, 25-13, 25-9 and Morris, 25-15, 25-7.
Geneva’s JV team lost to Joliet Catholic, 25-15, 25-21 and DeKalb, 25-14, 25-20, in pool play.