Geneva stuns top-seeded Glenbard West

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Geneva volleyball coach K.C. Johnsen has been looking for consistent play from his young team and he got it Tuesday night.

The Vikings, playing at home in their Class 4A sectional semifinal, set the tone early and kept the strong play going throughout and knocked off No. 1 seed Glenbard West 25-20, 25-21.

“I always think I can see it coming around and now it is,” Johnsen said.

The win sends the fourth seeded hosts, now 28-9, on to Thursday’s title match where they will face Upstate Eight Conference River rival St. Charles North, which beat St. Charles East in straight sets, 25-19, 25-22 in the second semifinal.

“Glenbard West is a great team,” said Johnsen, whose team was eliminated from the playoffs last year in the sectional final by the Hilltoppers and lost a tough three-setter to them earlier this year at West’s tournament.

“Their libero is one of the best around and seems to get everything but ours did a pretty good job, too, and so did the other girls in our back row.”

The Vikings opened a 3-0 lead to start the match on booming kills by each of their 6-2 freshman standouts, Ally Barrett (6 kills, 4 blocks) and Grace Loberg (9 kills), followed by an ace from setter Courtney Caruso (17 assists).

The Vikings never trailed in the opener and used back-to-back kills from junior Hannah Lanasa to extend a 21-19 advantage to 23-19.

Two points later, she closed it out with her eighth kill of the night.

The teams were tied six times before Geneva took the lead for good in the second set behind another Caruso ace that made it 7-6. A Megan Cameron ace made it 15-9 and the Hilltoppers, who struggled all night getting into any type of offensive rhythm, had no comeback in them.

“We played well as a team and our crowd really helped,” said Geneva libero Kelsey Wicinski, who had 20 digs. “We knew it was gonna be a tough game but we had to come out and show how we could play.”

Sophomore Natalie Schilling led Glenbard West with five kills and Caroline Jenkins added three.

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