First things first.
Sure, Metea Valley was looking forward to a shot at Glenbard East, and sure, the Mustangs were hoping to keep alive a chance to win in their first regional semifinal in the next round. But first the Mustangs (28-7) had to get past Montini in Monday's quarterfinal play at Glenbard East, and that they did, easily dispatching of the Broncos 25-10, 25-8.
With senior outside hitter Martin Krasuski pounding away from the onset, the Mustangs -- seeded 10th at the Proviso West sectional -- stormed out to a 12-4 lead in Game 1 and never looked back. Krasuski, a 6-foot-4 force who was lethal from the left side on Monday, had 8 of his match-high 15 kills in the opener.
"We wanted to make that first step. You can't get anywhere if you don't get past that first game," said Krasuski, who recorded 5 quick kills as Metea Valley jumped out to a 10-4 lead on the Broncos (5-7). "We kind of wanted a good performance today so we could get in a rhythm so we can play well tomorrow. That will definitely be a bigger challenge for us."
A young Broncos team, seeded 23rd in the sectional, struggled to keep up with the Mustangs on Monday. With the win Metea Valley gets a shot at the No. 7 Rams, who beat them twice this season at the Downers Grove North tourney, but both matches went three games.
"We definitely want revenge after those two close gams, but we'll have to come out with more energy than we had today," Krasuski said.
Mustangs setter Andrew Miller tried to get many players involved in the attack on Monday, but with middles Enrique Lopez and Tommy Carlson drawing attention from Broncos blockers, Miller couldn't help but feed Krasuski in many favorable situations. Lopez and Carlson did combine for 9 kills and 3 blocks, but many of Miller's 25 assists went the way of the team's top outside threat.
"Andrew was getting the balls out really well and our middles definitely helped," Krasuski said. "Just giving me those solo blocks is always going to be a situation where we want to be."
Metea Valley closed out Game 1 with a block kill by Lopez, then built a quick 9-3 lead in the second game on their way to the sweep.
Broncos first-year coach Seth Salmon just didn't have enough firepower to stay with the Mustangs.
"We knew we had to be mentally tough but we just didn't execute tonight. We had a lot of new players to volleyball this year and it showed tonight," said Salmon, whose squad was paced by Dylan Thompson's 2 kills.