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Girls volleyball: Geneva pushes past St. Charles East

Genev players celebrate game point during their second game against St. Charles East. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media

Geneva players celebrate game point during their second game against St. Charles East. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 1, 2012 4:48PM

The three-set war with long volleys expected by everyone in Tuesday’s Geneva-St. Charles East rubber match at the Class 4A Larkin Sectional never materialized.

Second-seeded Geneva simply refused to let the Saints gain any momentum.

The Vikings had split two three-set wars in the regular season with the Saints, but in the regional Geneva proved it could play with a lead better behind the blocking of 6-foot-1 junior middle Taylor Marmitt in a 25-22, 25-19 victory.

“What we kind of rely on is defense and blocking — that’s our game,” Geneva coach K.C. Johnsen said.

Marmitt had seven blocks and five kills and senior outside hitter Jess Wicinski came up with four blocks and six kills. They kept the Saints from getting much offense outside of Nichole Woods’ eight kills for the match.

“We had a good match at the Mizuno Cup against them and lost there and then beat them in three sets (for the conference title),” Marmitt said. “Tonight we were on it.”

Once the Vikings (29-9) took a bit of a lead, they knew how to hold it. In the first set, they gained a 13-10 lead on a five-point run with Wicinski and Renner Burns making kills. The Saints (25-13) never got the lead back. They finally did get within 22-21 but a kill off a short set in the middle by Marmitt, a kill on a line shot by Hannah Buck and finally a kill again by Marmitt finished the set.

“I think once we got some momentum, we were all right,” Marmitt said. “At first we were a little scared or intimidated by the fans. But after the first match when we came in timid, we got momentum going and we were fine.”

The Vikings were equally tough with a lead in the second set — it just took longer to get one. They trailed 8-4 and then 14-11, but Kelsey Wicinski’s ace proved big in a 5-0 run that included four mis-hits or errors by the Saints. Geneva never lost the lead after that, and scored five of the final six points after the Saints drew within 20-18.

“We made too many errors and they took advantage,” said Saints coach Jennie Kull. “I just never felt like we were in a rhythm today. I never felt like we were going to make it happen.”

The Saints got 15 assists from senior All-Upstate Eight River setter Erienne Berry to go with Woods’ eight kills. Those two were part of the team last year that won the third-place trophy at state.

“Pretty amazing careers,” Kull said. “I’m proud of them. I couldn’t have been more honored to have coached them.

“We started the season 0-4, so to be in this match, I’m very proud. Many people wouldn’t have thought we’d be here in a sectional after finishing third and losing all the players we did, and the kids battled all year.”

Thursday’s title match is at 7 p.m. Glenbard West beat Geneva earlier this season in three sets.

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