For most volleyball teams, replacing a player at the net like Sydney Himmelman would be a hard act to follow.

For most volleyball teams, replacing a player at the net like Sydney Himmelman would be a hard act to follow.

For Lady Leafs Coach Casey Komel, the answer is simple — plug in her sister, Hannah.

“Hannah has really filled the big shoes her sister left,” Komel said. “She’s always had a natural ability to know what to do with the ball in pressure situations.”

The Lady Leafs had the feel of a team on the brink last season.

Even when they came up short, Geneseo would find a way to make the other team earn every point.

“Coaches don’t like playing us,” Komel said. “We do not go down without a fight, and it’s fun to play those competitive games. The girls are really excited to maybe get a few more notches in the win column.”

With that attitude, Geneseo nabbed a regional win and won more than 13 games for the first time since 2009.

In making their long-term goals for this season, the Lady Leafs are already thinking about a sectional berth.

Despite having a tough path in Class 3A, Komel thinks playing against the very best will bring out the Lady Leafs’ best.

“I like that we are in a tough class because it makes us better playing with those teams,” Komel said. “That is our ultimate goal, and if they believe it I think they can achieve it.”

Elli Weller is another varsity player Geneseo is expecting big things from taking over for Jenna Decker who was a mainstay as the team’s libero.

“She probably has the most volleyball knowledge of anyone on the team,” Komel said. “No one can replace a single person, but I think Elli is going to do a great job.”

However, despite the talent on the team Geneseo still has to nail down how they communicate on the court.

“This is the most knowledgeable team I’ve had ever,” Komel said. “It’s still something we are working on because communication is one of our weaker points.”

Still, the Lady Leafs’ message seems pretty clear.

It’s time to think big.

2017 Lady Leafs' volleyball roster

2    Elli Weller    LIB    11
4    Maggi Weller    DS    9
5    Keeli Frerichs    RS/OH    10
7    Rachel Daniels    S    11
8    Rachel Shoemaker    DS    11
9    Mariah Smith    RS/OH    12
10    Lauren Henderson    DS    12
11    Breanna Smith    MB    11
12    Hannah Adams    S    10
13    Lily Gerth    OH    12
14    Emily Pobanz    OH    11
17    Delaney Ostrowski    DS    11
18    Caitlin Gilmore    DS    12
19    Hannah Himmelman    MB    11
20    Alex Horne    RS/MB    11  
Coach: Casey Komel. Assistant coach: Ali Stern. Manager: Melanie Parker.

2017 Lady Leafs' volleyball roster
Aug. 29    Geneseo at Alleman    Alleman    5 p.m.
Aug. 31    Geneseo at Rock Falls    Rock Falls    5 p.m.
Sept. 2    Limestone Invite    Limestone Comm. HS    8:30 a.m.
Sept. 2    Washington Soph Invite    Washington HS    9 a.m.
Sept. 7    Rochelle at Geneseo    Geneseo HS    5 p.m.
Sept. 9    Geneseo Invite    Geneseo HS    9 a.m.
Sept. 11     Geneseo at Galesburg    Galesburg HS    5 p.m.
Sept. 12    LaSalle-Peru at Geneseo    Geneseo HS    5 p.m.
Sept. 13    Sterling at Geneseo    Geneseo HS    5 p.m.
Sept. 18    Rock Island at Geneseo     Geneseo HS    5 p.m.
Sept. 21    Dixon at Geneseo    Geneseo HS    5 p.m.
Sept. 23    Annawan Frosh Invite    Annawan HS    TBA
Sept. 26    Ottawa at Geneseo    Geneseo HS    5 p.m.
Sept 28    Geneseo at DeKalb    DeKalb HS    5 p.m.
Oct. 3    Kaneland at Geneseo    Geneseo HS    5 p.m.
Oct. 5    Geneseo at LaSalle-Peru    LaSalle-Peru HS    5 p.m.
Oct. 10    Geneseo at Sterling    Sterling HS    5 p.m.
Oct. 12    United Township at Geneseo    Geneseo HS    5 p.m.
Oct. 14    Geneseo at Eastland Tourney    Eastland HS    9 a.m.
Oct. 14    NIB 12 frosh/soph    Westwood Complex, Sterling     8:30 a.m.
Oct. 17    Geneseo at Rochelle    Rochelle HS    5 p.m.
Oct. 19    Geneseo at Ottawa    Ottawa HS    5 p.m.
Oct. 21    Geneseo at Sterling frosh Invite    Sterling HS    8:30 a.m.