It was not anywhere near the best effort of Marin Catholic this season, but its top player, 6-foot-6 Loyola-Marymount-committed junior outside hitter Kari Geissberger, was a bit under the weather, and head coach Jake Spain was looking to a grueling four-game Stockton Classic on Saturday and was hoping to rest her and his other stars.
Spain pretty much stuck to the game plan and the result was Marin Catholic was still a 25-18, 25-13 and 25-11 winner on Friday night on the road at Terra Linda of San Rafael.
Prior to the match, Spain had indicated that because Geissberger had been sick and the Wildcats would need her in Stockton, the plan would be to not play her very much if at all.
However, when the visiting Wildcats had problems in the first game, Spain brought in Geissberger with his team trailing 13-12 and before he subbed her out she had a block and a kill and her energy revitalized a Marin Catholic side that flexed its muscles to close out game one, and despite the fact Terra Linda came out with energy to begin games two and three the final result was never in doubt.
Geissberger finished with 11 kills, four blocks and an ace in a short appearance. Olivia Cooper, a 6-1 junior middle blocker that is looking to go Ivy League, led Marin Catholic (26-2, 15-0 Marin County Athletic League) with 14 kills, three ace serves and a block.
Freshman sensation Julianna Treadway, a 5-foot-8 outside hitter that plays like a 6-footer, finished with 11 kills, and four ace serves, and at one point in the second game she had seven straight points on her serve that turned a 2-2 early tie into a 9-2 advantage that sealed the deal in the game.
“Part of having a young team is finding a high level at all times,” said Spain, who starts two other freshmen besides Treadway. “Tonight was a lesson for us. We have to operate at a high level every night or someone can knock us off.”
Marin Catholic may be the top team in Northern California and No. 7 in the state rankings, but still has a lot to prove as the funnel narrows in the drive to the North Coast Section and CIF state playoffs.
Even so, and despite its youth, Marin Catholic looks like one of the teams to beat this year in the CIF Northern Regional Open Division.