"You have to really credit Chadwick for their success against us, especially this year," Genske said. "They graduated some tall, talented girls from last year and responded by playing a lot better defense this year."
The Panthers didn't lose focus, however, winning their next four matches and setting up another showdown with Chadwick, this time at home on Oct. 11.
The Dolphins entered top-ranked in the division and undefeated at 12-0.
Both their record and standing fell, however, as Genske connected on a match-high 23 kills in leading the Panthers to a 26-24, 25-22, 25-20 win, which snapped the Dolphins' 18-match winning streak.
"We all wanted this win for a while," Panthers setter Michelle Miller said after the match. "The seniors wanted it — especially Alexis and I. It was fun setting her. She took her game to another level."
The Panthers may have very well won a league title had Genske not sprained her ankle at practice the very next day.
Genske missed the team's next four matches, as Poly finished 3-1 through that stretch.
The one defeat, however, was a costly 3-1 setback to Mayfield the day after her injury that pushed the Panthers into second place, where they stayed.
"It's easy to say we would have won league without that injury, but that's not fair to say," Beerman said. "What you could say is that Alexis proved just how valuable she was in absence."
The playoffs brought out the best in Genske, who averaged 15 kills per match and hit that total in a 25-18, 25-13, 25-16 win at Santa Monica in the semifinals on Nov. 30. That win vaulted Poly, which hadn't dropped a postseason game, into the divisional championship versus Chadwick.
"My teammates depended on me to be the leader and to be the player that others depended on," Genske said. "It's a role I grew into and learned to respect as a captain this year and last year."
While Chadwick defeated Poly 25-20, 24-26, 25-23, 25-17, it wasn't for a lack of effort by Genske, who tallied a match-high 26 kills and four blocks.
"There was some disappointment for sure," Genske said. "But we had a really good season and we had our chances at winning a championship. What else can you ask for?
"Plus, this year was fun. It was a great ride and it was fun to have our chance and get our recognition this year. It was great to be a part of history."