GENEVA – The engine of Geneva’s offense primarily runs through its middles, and when done correctly and with full-effort, the Vikings can see the results translate into the win column.
One day removed from a two-set loss to St. Charles North on Tuesday that was littered with attack and serving errors, the Vikings (7-12, 1-2) entered practice Wednesday with a renewed focus and intensity. Ultimately, it carried over into the Vikings’ three-set victory over West Chicago, 25-21, 15-25, 25-12, on Thursday to snap a three-game skid.
“We came back, and they worked hard,” Geneva coach Lauren Kosecki said. “They knew I wasn’t happy [from Tuesday]. They knew they didn’t play the best that they can play. That’s what we keep talking about. I don’t really care about the wins and the losses. It’s about giving your effort, the best effort you can give.
“Every ball, we need to be going after. We’ve got to be serving aggressively. We starting to click; good things happen when we serve aggressive and run our middles. We’re getting there. We’re getting there. It’s a process.”
For junior middle hitter Charlotte Potvin, getting back on track was, in-part, “bringing the intensity but also having fun.”
“We came into practice yesterday [thinking]: ‘It’s going to be a good practice. We’re going to do good. We’re going to do what we need to do the drills that we need to get done,’ ” Potvin said following her seven-kill effort. “We did. We got the drills done fairly fast, and then we just balled out.”
Vikings senior Lauren Benson (four kills, three blocks and two aces) and Potvin both command a lot of the attention for the Vikings given the system they run. Potvin, in particular, brought down the hammer a number of times for opportune spikes in the third set.
“It’s nice getting the passes there and getting set,” Potvin continued. “I just love the encouragement that I get from the team and that everyone gives each other. It was a struggle in the beginning [of the season] getting our middles involved, because we have a new setter too, so it was hard connecting. ... We worked on it yesterday, and it was wonderful.”
“[Potvin] does a nice job coming in quick,” Kosecki said. “Both our middles do a really nice job. That’s why [I know] we’ve got to run them. We’ve got to pass so we can run them on the ball. So, when we do that, good things happen.”
A pair of Sam Vanda kills ensured a tidy set one finish for Geneva. West Chicago (9-8, 3-1) quickly jumped out to a 9-3 lead in set two and only allowed a four-point game at its closest point the rest of the way thanks to Trinity Nelson (three kills, two aces), Kayla Sennese (two aces) and Brianna Gromos (five kills) all adding dominant stretches at times.
“We talked in between sets about some standards that we’re holding ourselves to, and we always talk about what we need to do [to be successful],” Wildcats coach MacKenzie Bell said. “It was really, ‘Now is the time to implement that game plan, it’s now or never,’ and I think between that first and second set, we really made that change and were able to do all the things we talked about.
“I said in the middle of that first set, they’re going towards right-back every single time. You’ve got to take that away from them. We were able to do that and slow them down.”
By set three, Geneva reset and rode Benson, Potvin and Vanda (eight kills) to a rather comfortable finish with a 6-0 run midway through.
For the Wildcats, Nelson “is definitely a leader on the court.”
“She’s very calm and confident in her demeanor,” Bell said, “a very solid all-around player for us. She’s one of those kids that is hard to ever want to take off the court. She has such a presence and is so competitive.”