GENESEO — Volleyball success is often determined by which team can sustain the ball when on the serve.
Geneseo was able to do that on Tuesday and Rock Island could not. That allowed the Maple Leafs to dominate the Rocks 25-18, 25-15 in Western Big 6 Conference action.
Geneseo had 10 runs of at least three points when it was on serve. The Rocks were able to do that just twice.
"We were definitely not serving aggressive and that was allowing their middle to attack us," Rock Island coach Jacqueline Twing said. "We did not play at our level, that's for sure.
"They were getting us out of our system. We didn't pass the ball well."
The Rocks (8-5, 2-1 in the WB6) had very few good chances at the net while the Maple Leafs (6-3, 3-1) were dominant at the net.
"We wanted to come out and play a fast and intense game," Geneseo coach Casey Komel said. We have not been playing that way lately and our opponents have been setting the tone. We got going early in both games and that was big."
The Maple Leafs used their size to score against the Rocks on numerous kills and blocks. Hannah Copeland was a leader in both of those categories with seven kills and three blocks.
"We knew Rock Island was very good competition so we wanted to come ready to play," Copeland said. "The key was we started with energy and stayed with energy. We never let them get anything going.
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"On defense, we knew who we had to stop and we had our best blockers there. We also have great players in the back who kept the ball alive. Then, on offense we can use our depth to keep the opponents guessing."
That depth and size is something that even amazes Komel.
"I'm not from Geneseo so I am still wondering what there is in the water because we have always had so many big girls in this program," she said. "We have a bunch of big girls who can play anywhere on the court and they are comfortable and aggressive in any area on the court."
The win was big for the Maple Leafs after splitting on Saturday — losing to Sterling and beating Quincy.
"We go into every game thinking we have to play well to win," Komel said. "We expect a tough match and don't think any will be easy."
Meanwhile, the Rocks will go back to work and push this loss off into the past, something they have not done well in past seasons.
"We knew coming in that Geneseo has so much more experience than we do," Twing said. "They play one sophomore and we play seven. We will look at this game as one we have to get back to work on what we didn't do well and be ready for this weekend against Quincy and Moline.
"We want to have a short memory and try to get rid of this taste fast. This group is growing up and they are starting to learn how to win and also how to get past the losses."