Girls Volleyball: St Edward opens 3A playoffs with winSt. Edward's Maria Von Ahnen (15) and Casey Gredzieleski (bottom) cannot get to a block by Genoa-Kingston during their IHSA Class 3A Regional playoff game at Hampshire High School Monday. October 22, 2012. The Green Wave won in 2 games 25-20, 25-16.| John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 22, 2012 10:25PM
There was no trepidation for St. Edward on Monday night playing in its first regional since moving up to the Class 3A level.
Instead, the fourth-seeded Green Wave seem to be relishing the role of underdog as it knocked off third-seeded Genoa-Kingston 25-20, 25-16 in the first round of the Hampshire Regional.
Katie Swanson led the way with 10 kills as St. Edward advances to play top-seeded Kaneland on Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, Sycamore will face second-seeded Burlington Central after downing the host Whip-Purs 25-16, 25-11 on Monday.
“We are the smallest school here so we feel like we have nothing to lose,” said St. Edward coach Jaime Dovichi. “Being moved up has kind a lit a fire under us. We just want to prove we can win no matter where they put us.”
The Green Wave (15-17) rallied twice from behind to take the first game against G-K. Trailing 11-8 early on, St. Edward went on a 7-0 run to pull ahead 15-11. Swanson had a pair of kills to lead the surge
G-K answered back with five straight points of its own to briefly regain a 16-15 lead on ace from Olivia Cotton. However, the Green Wave took the lead back for good with back-to-back kills from Swanson and Rena Ranallo and pulled away from there.
“We knew we would be playing tougher teams at this level,” said Swanson. “So we knew we would have to step up our game. Our setting and passing was really good. We did a lot of communicating on the floor and worked together as a team.”
G-K (19-17) briefly led 4-3 early in the second game, but the Cogs self-destructed with three straight unforced errors to fall behind.
It was all Green Wave after that. A 7-0 run behind the serving of Casey Gredzieleski gave the Wave a 21-11 cushion. Ranallo helped close it out with a pair of kills down the stretch.
Ranallo finished with six kills. Allison Kruk led the Green Wave in digs with 10. Gredzieleski added 21 assists.
Sixth-seeded Hampshire (11-24) was no match for Sycamore in the night’s second match. The Spartans had eight aces in the game.
After falling behind 19-8 in the opener the Whip-Purs were able to fight back with a modest 8-5 run to make it respectable. Sycamore (22-13) dominated the second game, jumping out to an 11-1 lead and cruised from there.
“They came out serving aggressively and we struggled with our passing,” said Hampshire coach Andrew Lindley. “I’m proud of how hard the girls have worked all year and they played hard again tonight. We just fell short against a really good team.”
Arianna Rominski and Jen Dumoulin each had seven kills for the Whip-Purs. Hannah Knox had 10 kills and 10 digs to lead Sycamore.