The Geneseo volleyball team finished the regular season with a victory against Ottawa, earned their 17th victory of the season and competed against Sterling in the regional semifinals.

The Geneseo volleyball team finished the regular season with a victory against Ottawa, earned their 17th victory of the season and competed against Sterling in the regional semifinals.

Geneseo at Ottawa

The Lady Leafs topped the Pirates in the season finale 25-23, 25-16, in

Ottawa, on Oct. 19.

Geneseo’s Hannah Himmelman was the team leader with six kills, and Breanna Smith finished with five kills.

Rachel Daniels set up the offense with nine assists, and Hannah Adams finished with seven assists.

The Leafs’ Elli Weller was the team leader with 13 digs and three aces, and Lily Gerth finished with four kills.

Emily Pobanz tacked on three kills, and Maggi Weller finished with five digs and an ace.

Geneseo’s Caitlin Gilmore notched three digs, and Mariah Smith finished with three digs.

The Leafs’ Rachel Shoemaker finished with an assist and a dig.

Geneseo vs. Kewanee

The Lady Leafs defeated Kewanee 25-18, 25-19 in the first round of the Class 3A Geneseo Regional on Oct. 23.

With Geneseo improving to 17-12-2 on the season, the Lady Leafs tallied the most wins since the 2009 season (21-10-1).

“I think it’s a real confidence boost,” Himmelman said. “We all have been working so hard this season. We put in so much time and effort, and we all have a lot of heart for it. It’s good to see results.”

The Lady Leafs fell behind Kewanee early in the first set, but Geneseo rallied to take a 14-10 lead behind strong play at the net.

Kewanee had no answer for Himmelman up front, and she finished with six kills and leading the team in blocks.

However, Himmelman was quick to share the credit with her teammates who have all found ways to stand out down the stretch.

Against Kewanee, it was junior Breanna Smith who had a breakout game leading the Lady Leafs with seven kills.

The Geneseo defense was strong with Elli and Maggie Weller guarding the back line.

Ellie Weller notched a team-high 16 digs and two aces, and Maggie Weller finished with five digs and three aces.

“We have definitely made a lot of progress,” said Elli Weller of the defense. “With practice and game stuff, we have learned what we can and can’t do and helping out each other too.”

After finishing off the first set 25-18, Geneseo found themselves tied at 10 in the second set.

However, the Lady Leafs grabbed control taking a 17-12 lead.

With each Geneseo run, the cheers from the crowd and student section continued to make more of an impact on the game.

“A few years ago, we couldn’t get five students in the gym,” Geneseo Coach Casey Komel said. “The fact that there is so much support shows what kind girls they are. People don’t come support people they don’t like. It says a lot about these girls that their friends come to support them when they could be at home doing homework or watching TV.”

Adams set up the offense with 14 assists, and Daniels showed she could do it all with eight assists, five digs and three aces.

Pobanz tallied five kills, and Gerth finished with two kills and two digs.

Alex Horne tacked on four digs and a kill, and Gilmore finished with a pair of digs.

Geneseo’s Mariah Smith finished with a kill and a block.

Geneseo vs. Sterling

Second-seeded Sterling got the best of the Lady Leafs 25-14, 25-15 in the Class 3A Geneseo Regional semifinal, on Oct. 23.

The Lady Leafs got off to a hot start taking a 4-1 lead with electric energy filling the Geneseo gym with cheers.

Sterling fought back to tie the game at five-all, and then the Golden Warriors caught fire taking a 16-8 lead.

Geneseo was able to battle back after falling behind 22-9, but the hole was too deep and Sterling took the first set 25-14.

Sterling kept building on that momentum in the second set taking an 11-3 lead.

The Golden Warriors were opportunistic at the net putting away shots with authority, while Sterling also managed to protect the back line well never letting a shot go without giving themselves a chance to get it back over the net.

Last season, Sterling ran everything through outside hitter Kaylee Martin.

With Martin attending Northern Illinois University this season, Sterling reshaped its team into a unit where any player is capable of taking over a match.

“They rely on everyone and everyone steps up,” Komel said. “They are a great team. They challenge us and make us better every time we play them.”

After trailing 16-6, Geneseo showed the resiliency the program has cultivated the past two seasons.

The Lady Leafs kept battling and forced Sterling to use a timeout after closing the game to 21-14.

“There was a picture of the girls from last night cheering and it was the heart,” Komel said. “You saw it in the picture. You can tell when we are down if we are not playing with the heart and you can tell when we are. In that comeback, you could tell we were playing with the heart.”