Geneva freshmen Ally Barrett (right-side hitter) and Grace Loberg (outside hitter) both stand 6-foot-2. Although each of the other Vikings are shorter, the debuting duo blends in just fine.
"We feel really part of the team," Barrett said. "From the start, when we came in, we were kind of nervous about being able to fit in, but the girls were really welcoming."
The assimilation process goes much easier when you're as skilled as Barrett and Loberg. The former remains a consistently solid force at the net. The latter boasts 38 kills in her past two Upstate Eight Conference River Division matches.
Former classmates and teammates at Geneva Middle School North who also have shared a club team, Barrett and Loberg look forward to being each other's sounding boards for the rest of the season and years to come.
"We've done, like, everything together for club and everything and we know each other really well," Barrett said. "And it was great for each other to be there and support each other."
Six degrees of Jennie Kull
St. Charles East coach Jennie Kull scouted and filmed Tuesday's Geneva-St. Charles North match. She just as easily could have networked.
Before coaching North Stars coach Lindsey Hawkins in high school, Kull was a college assistant at Indiana in the early 1990s when Grace Loberg's mother, Colleen, played.
In addition, Grace Loberg and Barrett were teammates of Kull's daughter, Morgan, on the Fusion South 14 Red club team that won an AAU national championship in Orlando, Fla., in June. East assistant Mike Bui coached the Batavia-based team.
"It's kind of a whole, big circle," Kull said. "It's really cool."
Dig it again, Sam
St. Francis senior libero Sam Dubiel tallied 11 service points and two aces during Monday's Suburban Christian Conference sweep of Aurora Central Catholic.
It was a welcome contribution as the Spartans remained perfect in league play, especially since coach Peg Kopec is so accustomed to digging the Florida recruit's defensive prowess.
"Our libero is fabulous. Our libero helps us a lot," Kopec said. "Digs a lot of balls, passes a lot of balls. Easy to get along with. Great girl."
Dubiel committed to Florida in late July. Her accomplishments to date in her senior season include a spot on the Effingham Crossroads Classic all-tournament team on Sept. 14.
In the groove
Geneva, Jr., L
What she did: One week removed from a 48-dig outburst, Wicinski collected a school-record 49 digs in Tuesday's key, three-game victory against Upstate Eight Conference River Division rival St. Charles North.
Burlington Central's balance
What happened: BC remained unbeaten in Big Northern Conference East play by knocking off defending 3A runners-up Richmond-Burton in three games Tuesday. Central answered Penn State-bound R-B standout Ali Frantti's 22 kills with the three-handed attack of Emily Bozich, Jenna Schudel and Makenna Jensen, which combined for 31.
WHAT WE LEARNED LAST WEEK
St. Charles North will not go undefeated in 2013. The North Stars suffered their first two losses of the season Saturday, bowing to Benet and Sandburg en route to a fourth-place finish at the Wheaton Classic. North carried a 13-0 record into Gold Division play Saturday. The team will compete in invitationals at Schaumburg and Minooka in October.
WHAT WE'LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD
How the Upstate Eight River Division race turns. Geneva's home win against league-leading St. Charles North Tuesday night refreshed each of the Tri-Cities teams' conference title hopes. St. Charles East, which hosts both Batavia (Oct. 15) and Geneva (Oct. 22), should especially like its chances if it can hold serve at Streamwood and Elgin before then.
COACH SLY SEZ
It sure is great to already see some of these student sections in midseason – heck, postseason – form. Lots of the parents aren't bad, either.
On Tuesday, fans for Geneva and STCN definitely fit the bill.
Per capita, volleyball gives fans more chances to scream and yell than the other IHSA sports. No use in waiting for October to come around to take advantage.