GENOA – Keith Foster wasn’t completely satisfied after the Genoa-Kingston volleyball team’s 25-22, 25-20 win over North Boone on Thursday night, and neither was Olivia Cotton.
The Cogs shouldn’t be playing tight games against winless teams anymore and the coach and all-state libero know that. In a way, they both know that dissatisfaction is a positive, showing just how far the undefeated Cogs (4-0, 2-0 Big Northern Conference East) have come in the past four years.
“We’re thrilled that we can be slightly disappointed with the way we played and still get the win,” Foster said. “We’re excited at 4-0 and 2-0 in conference. We’re thrilled with the start of the season. And we’re also thrilled that we can be upset and be in that position.”
Although the Cogs fell behind 6-0 to the Vikings (0-6, 0-2 BNC East) in the first game, they never really expected anything other than a win.
Behind eight kills from Bridget Halat, 10 digs from Cotton and 11 assists from Breea Rogalla, the Cogs did just that. Torri Bennett had three of her four aces midway through the first game, drawing the Cogs even and kicking off a 12-6 run to close the set.
Despite falling behind in the second game, 10-8, the Cogs rallied and managed to coast to victory.
“I knew that we would still be able to push through it the whole time,” said Halat, who had a .571 hitting percentage. “Our team, we work well together. I wasn’t worried at all; I don’t think any of us were. We expected to come out a little more on top.”
Part of the confidence that exudes from the Cogs comes from the fact that almost every girl plays on a club team. Whether they play for top teams like Club Fusion or Top Flight, or Aggression, the new local club, the G-K players are receiving plenty of return on their offseason hours.
“You can tell a huge difference, just the amount of time they’re putting in over the summer versus during the school year, it helps a lot,” Cotton said. “We’re definitely holding ourselves to a higher expectation. Even though we’re winning and we’re not pleased with it. That’s how high we hold ourselves this year.”
After a tournament in Byron, the Cogs take on Big Northern Conference powerhouse Burlington Central, whom the Cogs haven’t beaten during Cotton or Foster’s time at G-K.
While Cotton said she’ll be happy if Tuesday’s match is a close game and she feels good about the effort, a win would punctuate just how far this program has come.
“It’s definitely a goal,” Cotton said. “That’s one of the teams that we’ve always lost to as being a really good game or a close game, so that’s something we really want to tackle this year.”