Geneva slept late, finally fell out of bed, and then hit the ground running Tuesday.
The Vikings trailed host St. Charles North 20-9 in Game 1 of their Upstate Eight River match but fought back tooth-and-nail in a close loss.
From there on, the night fairly belonged to Geneva in a 21-25, 25-13, 25-14 victory.
“When (Geneva) was down they battled back,” North’s Daley Krage said, “and when we were down 7-1 in the second game, we got rattled. That was the difference. We have to learn to stay calm and find that kind of focus when we’re behind.”
St. Charles North fell to 9-3 overall and 2-1 in UEC play while Geneva stayed unbeaten at 12-0 and improved to 5-0 in the conference.
Geneva hitter Grace Loberg led all players with 12 kills, and she was happy to see her side grab the match by the throat during the Game 1 loss.
“We had to pick it up. We wanted this game and we wanted to stay undefeated,” Loberg said. “Our team won’t give up. We always know we can come back, we kept it close, and we went into that second game with momentum.”
A pair of Loberg aces helped turn momentum around as the sophomore served for five points that got her side rolling. Trailing by 11 points, the Vikings went on a 12-2 run that cut North’s Game 1 lead to 22-20.
North held on for the win thanks to an Emily Carroll block and a Krage kill that ended the game, but the Vikings clearly had the North Stars on their heels.
“We were executing our game plan in Game 1,” St. Charles North coach Lindsey Hawkins said. “In Game 2 they were able to take us out of system, which is a struggle for our setters, and when our setters can’t get the ball on the net or mix up the offense, it became easier for (Geneva) to play defense.
“We just lost our game plan, stopped serving aggressively and stopped passing the ball.”
North got single-digit kills from Claire Anderson, Jaclyn Taylor, Kailey Grove, and Krage, plus 11 assists from Taryn Dal Degan and six from Taylor.
Geneva led 11-2 in Game 2 and 11-5 in Game 3 to take control of both games. Loberg finished with 17 digs and three aces, Kelsey Wicinski had 15 digs, and Mikayla Lanasa had 21 assists. Megan Cameron also had 13 assists for the Vikings.
“The tenacity they showed in the first game was a nice segue into the second set,” Geneva coach Annie Seitelman said. “They just kept it going. We stopped making errors, made some great moves defensively and we were swinging well.”