Metea Valley has had some great players in its young program's history, and most would agree that Jenna Kentgen is as good as any that has stepped foot into the Aurora school.
Kentgen got hurt early on in Wednesday's Class 3A Naperville North sectional semifinal, but somehow, some way, the Mustangs were able to persevere and win without her, pulling out a 1-0 victory to earn the first sectional win in school history.
The game was played at Metea Valley due to a field conflict at Naperville North caused by Tuesday's inclement weather.
"Just an unbelievable effort," Mustangs coach Pat Feulner said. "We lost Kentgen 12 minutes in and for them to step up like they did without our best player was unbelievable."
With Kentgen sidelined with what appears to be a knee injury, Feulner went deep into his bench, asking several players to step up and contribute even more than usual.
"We had to use a lot of players, including some who haven't had a bunch of time, to be honest with you," he said. "The kids stepped up, and anytime you can contain those guys and Heather Handwork, you're doing a good job."
Metea Valley (17-3-2) scored three minutes into the second half to get all the offense it would need.
"We got all we needed, I guess," Feulner said. "Just an incredible all-around effort."
Junior Alena Sidwell's 10th goal of the season allowed the Mustangs to make program history.
"Scoring opportunities were tough," Sidwell said. "I'm still not sure who passed me the ball. I was wide open in the seam and saw a defender coming, so I touched around her and once I saw the goalie was giving me the post, I had to go for it, so that's what I did."
It provided a moment that Sidwell will likely never forget.
"I don't score too much, so to score in a big game like this is pretty special," she said. "To do it tonight and to help us make it farther than we've ever made it, means a lot."
Plainfield North (20-3-3) had beaten the Mustangs, 2-1, way back in March but was unable to doing much offensively.
"We didn't work together to create chances," Tigers coach Jane Crowe said. "Give credit to them defensively, but we took ourselves out of the game with too much one-on-one play."
Metea Valley senior Tracey McCoy led that defensive effort, which was especially inspired knowing they were playing for one of their leaders in Kentgen.
"I think we decided that because Jenna has done a lot of work here that we just couldn't disappoint her by losing," McCoy said. "Last game we got ahead of ourselves, but today we stayed in the moment and kept them in the moment."
"We really weren't going to the ball in the first half, so during halftime we kind of yelled at our players and told them to be strong and just do it for Jenna."
Apparently the message was heard loud and clear.
Kentgen's status for Friday is unknown.