Metea Valley's Ellie Petersen believes her Mustangs team is right up there with a potent Plainfield North squad, but she won't get another chance to prove it.
Petersen's senior campaign closed with Thursday night's 25-20, 25-18 loss to the 33-4 Tigers in the final of the Class 4A regional at Metea Valley. The loss ended the Mustangs' season and Petersen's high school volleyball days, while the fourth-seeded Tigers advance to the Plainfield South sectional and will face No. 2 Naperville North on Tuesday.
"They're big and they're smart," the Mustangs setter said of third-seeded Plainfield North. "But I'd love to play them again. I'd say maybe next year, but I'm a senior."
Instead Petersen, who had 12 assists and 5 digs on Thursday, will have to look back on a season in which Metea went 20-10 and swept to a 6-0 run to the Upstate Eight Valley crown that featured wins over Waubonsie Valley, Neuqua Valley and St. Charles East. "I'll never forget this season. It's been great," she said.
For the taller Tigers, Clemson-bound setter Kate Federico was great and her many options also were great. Fellow senior Dakota Santore had 12 kills for Plainfield North and Allie Lindroth and Kaitlyn Fischer each added 7 kills.
The opener was tight throughout, and the Mustangs trailed just 16-15 before a 6-1 run put the Tigers in command. The set closed on a powerful attack from the left side by Santore. Game 2 saw Plainfield North clinging to just an 8-7 lead following a kill by Metea's Lexie Lobdell, who closed her strong season with 7 kills. But the Tigers stayed strong and the lead grew to 19-13 following an ace by Morgan Smith. Eventually it was a kill by Lindroth that ended the match and the Mustangs season.
"It's so nice being a setter and to have so many options," said Federico, whose team lost in three games to Naperville North earlier this season. "Everyone was hitting phenomenal today and our passing and our blocking were phenomenal."
Mustangs coach Dave Macdonald said his team prepared well for the taller Tigers, but just didn't play at its very best in the regional final.
"We game planned for them and we were ready," he said. "We just didn't execute the way we needed to and at times we just couldn't push forward."
Nina Tuszynski had 3 kills and 4 digs for the Mustangs and middle hitter Kaylyn Torain added 2 kills and an ace.