GLEN ELLYN – The Geneva girls volleyball team welcomed the chance to face rival Glenbard West in the semifinals Saturday afternoon at the Glenbard West Invitational.
The Vikings got off to a slow start and eventually fell in three sets, 24-26, 25-19, 12-25.
The Vikings were led in kills by sophomore Ally Barrett (12), followed by fellow sophomore Grace Loberg (10). Mikayla Lanasa and Megan Cameron had 16 and 11 assists, respectively, in the losing semifinal effort.
“What it comes down to is serving and passing,” Geneva coach Annie Seitelman said. “We’re making a lot of unforced errors, which is uncharacteristic of us.”
The Vikings (15-2) suffered their first two defeats of the season in tournament play, having lost to Glenbard South in three sets Friday. Geneva finished third among 12 teams.
In the semifinal, Geneva faced deficits of 12-4 in set one and 8-4 in set two. The Hilltoppers (16-4) went on a 12-1 run to open the third set, a surge for which the Vikings had no answer.
Junior Natalie Schilling was a thorn in the side of the Vikings, as she had 13 kills and six service aces. Four of the aces came in the third set.
Geneva has faced the Hilltoppers multiple times in elimination settings, including last year, when Geneva knocked Glenbard West out of the sectional tournament. The Hilltoppers were able to return the favor this time and stay unbeaten on their home floor Saturday.
“Great teams bring out the best in everyone, and that’s what they did to us,” Glenbard West coach Pete Mastandrea said.
Glenbard West went on to win the tournament, defeating Fremd, 25-15, 25-22 in the final.
Geneva rebounded from its semifinal loss by avenging its first defeat to place third. The Vikings topped Glenbard South in straight sets, 25-22, 26-24, after rallying from behind to win the second set.
“It takes all six kids out there," Seitelman said. "It takes our bench, the energy created and we have just been a little flat.”
She called the losses building blocks.
“You never want to lose, but (it’s better) to have those learning experiences in September. … We just don’t want to have this feeling (during) postseason,” Seitelman said.
The Vikings will look to rebound when they host Upstate Eight Conference River Division foe Elgin on Tuesday.