ST. CHARLES – Devynn Day simply wanted to defeat St. Charles North.
It isn't hard to understand why.
The North Stars, after all, ended Geneva's season last year in a Class 4A regional final.
After all, they ended the Vikings' season during the Class 4A regional finals a year ago.
While perhaps the stakes weren't quite the same on Monday, a 25-18, 27-25 DuKane Conference victory is valuable this early in the regular season.
"This is my first time beating North," said Day, a second-year varsity outside hitter. "Freshman year, we had a close game. I was on JV...to finally come back and beat them, after four times, feels good."
Cassidy Brown led the Vikings with 11 kills and 11 digs, followed by Day's eight kills. Anna Loberg had 17 assists, while Loyola-Chicago recruit Grace Hinchman had 10 digs.
"I thought our defense, we were hustling a lot," Brown said. "Every ball was 100% effort. That really helped us with us playing together and bringing the energy through every single point of the game."
Defense, as it turns out, is an aspect of Brown's game that she loves to contribute in. It's also an area that has evolved from a year ago.
"This past club season was a big developmental year for me, especially in the back row with serve-receive," Brown continued. "[Geneva coach Annie] Seitelman is giving me a chance to show that this year, and play a lot of back row."
The Vikings (7-3, 2-0) cruised with relative ease in the first set, building a 20-13 lead as a combination of North Stars attack errors and kills from Day and Brown proved to be too great to overcome.
The second set, however, the North Stars nearly completed an unlikely comeback. After being tied 10-10, the Vikings ripped off runs of 4-0 and 3-0 to build a healthy 17-11 lead.
Kyla Lannert, Marissa Guajardo and a host of North Stars (4-5, 1-2) didn't go quietly.
A pair of Lannert kills and Geneva attack errors closed the gap to 17-15. Guajardo followed with a thunderous block to inch it to one.
After a North Stars attack and service error re-built the Geneva lead to 19-17, Grace Ernst and another Guajardo block tied it at 19. Lauren Ringness' kill gave the North Stars the lead at 20-19, but Geneva had a response each time, via either a kill or taking advantage of an errant North Stars attack.
Eventually tied at 24-24, North's Mia Dela Merced bopped a kill down the left line for the 25-24 advantage, but an attack error tied it again. Geneva then prevailed after a North Stars rotation error and another attack error.
Allyson Warburton led with seven kills for the North Stars, followed by Ernst's five and Lannert's four. Lannert also led with eight digs. Maddie Gorniak had seven and Olivia Walters had six.
"Offensively, we've got to be better," North Stars coach Lindsay Hawkins said. "Our defense and serve-receive were solid again tonight, and we just needed to be a little better and more consistent offensively. It wasn't just hitting errors. Sometimes, it was setting errors."
"The game plan, is take Grace Hinchman out of the game," she continued. "Don't hit to her. And, we did that a few times...it's also being smart with the ball."