Girls volleyball: Metea Valley wins 1st sectional championship
Fifty-four minutes after the girls volleyball sectional match began Wednesday evening in Oswego, Kira Hutson made history for Metea Valley High School.
When the junior outside hitter delivered the second set point with the last of her team-high 11 kills, the Mustangs denied Plainfield North a chance to play the Class 4A supersectional at home on Friday evening.
With its 26-24, 25-22 triumph over the Tigers, the Mustangs secured the first supersectional appearance in any sport for either gender for the Aurora high school.
Metea Valley welcomed its first students in the fall of 2010.
"It means the world," said Metea Valley coach Dave Macdonald. "It's still a new school. I think we're 12 or 13 years in. Being in a volleyball-rich area, it's fantastic."
The top-seeded Mustangs (37-2), who avenged one of only two regular-season losses, will face Andrew, a straight-sets winner over Bolingbrook, on Friday in Plainfield.
The second-seeded Tigers closed out their season at 32-7.
Plainfield North libero Jackie Gladstein had an ace as part of a 6-point service run to open the match.
"It was definitely a case of nerves," Hutson said of the Mustangs' slow start. "Once we calmed down, we knew we had it in the bag."
Metea Valley gradually chipped away at the Tigers' early cushion.
In what proved to be a defining storyline of the match, Metea Valley would never hold a lead greater than 2 points until the 87th point of the night.
Hutson, with able support from Annabelle Troy (8 kills) and Halle Sullivan (4 kills, 3 blocks), was the offensive star for the Mustangs as the junior newcomer to varsity ended both sets with kills from almost identical spots -- the farthest extreme of the left-side front row.
But it was Regan Holmer who was the glue for the Mustangs.
A senior who will play beach volleyball at Grand Canyon beginning next fall, Holmer had a team-best 13 assists to augment 7 digs and 4 kills -- all of which were seemingly difference-makers as the Mustangs rallied in the opening set.
"I am super grateful and super excited to be in this position we're in," Holmer said. "It's been a long time coming for this program. Our team is gritty. We don't get fazed being up by only 1 point -- or down by six -- like other teams might."
Metea Valley staved off two set points in the opener before Hutson ripped the winner.
"I just knew I had to hit it hard and away from everyone else," Hutson said of her two set-point kills.
The match was the finale for Plainfield North 6-foot-4 outside Ella Wrobel. A Wisconsin recruit, Wrobel was a dominant force, especially in the second set. Wrobel augmented her match-high 13 kills with a pair of aces.
Macdonald said the neutralization of Wrobel and highly regarded sophomore setter Ella Strausberger was indispensable to the Mustangs' victory.
"We came out super pumped up," Wrobel said. "(The Mustangs) came back and scored points on us. We didn't lose our momentum. It was an even battle."