Girls volleyball: Metea Valley rallies to win Class 4A state title

  • Metea Valley's Morgan Rank drops to her knees as the winning point is scored against Mother McAuley in the Class 4A state championship match Saturday at Illinois State University.

    Metea Valley's Morgan Rank drops to her knees as the winning point is scored against Mother McAuley in the Class 4A state championship match Saturday at Illinois State University. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Metea Valley celebrates their Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021.

    Metea Valley celebrates their Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Metea Valley David Macdonald talks to his team in the final points against Mother McAuley in the Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship match at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021.

    Metea Valley David Macdonald talks to his team in the final points against Mother McAuley in the Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship match at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Metea Valley's Morgan Rank dives to save a Mother McAuley shot in the Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship match at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021.

    Metea Valley's Morgan Rank dives to save a Mother McAuley shot in the Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship match at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Metea Valley's Jessica Williams celebrates a point Saturday.

    Metea Valley's Jessica Williams celebrates a point Saturday. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Metea Valley's Halle Sullivan hits against Mother McAuley in the Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship match at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021.

    Metea Valley's Halle Sullivan hits against Mother McAuley in the Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship match at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Metea Valley's Kira Hutson hits against Mother McAuley in the Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship match at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021.

    Metea Valley's Kira Hutson hits against Mother McAuley in the Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship match at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Metea Valley's Morgan Rank and head coach David Macdonald react to a late point against Mother McAuley in the Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship match at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021.

    Metea Valley's Morgan Rank and head coach David Macdonald react to a late point against Mother McAuley in the Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship match at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Metea Valley's Annabelle Troy celebrates a point with teammates in the Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship match at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021.

    Metea Valley's Annabelle Troy celebrates a point with teammates in the Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship match at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Metea Valley's Regan Holmer digs a shot against Mother McAuley in the Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship match at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021.

    Metea Valley's Regan Holmer digs a shot against Mother McAuley in the Class 4A IHSA volleyball championship match at Illinois State University on Saturday, November 13, 2021. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
By Kevin McGavin
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/14/2021 11:15 AM

NORMAL -- Not even the most storied girls volleyball program in state history could derail the Metea Valley express on the campus of Illinois State University Saturday night.

Mother McAuley has more state championships (15) than the Aurora high school has years of existence.

 

But the Mustangs capped an extraordinary postseason run by winning thier 24th consecutive match on a stage unlike any other.

After spotting the Mighty Macs a double-digit victory in the opening set, the Mustangs' defense was the central difference as Metea Valley had 62 digs against the Macs' vaunted offensive attack.

When the final McAuley kill attempt sailed wide of the left sideline, Metea Valley earned the first state championship for any sport for either gender in school history with a 15-25, 25-18, 25-17 triumph.

No team had ever even reached a supersectional until the volleyball squad beat Plainfield North at the Oswego East sectional 17 days ago.

"We showed them what a public school could do," said Metea Valley junior superstar Kira Hutson, who sat out the pandemic-shortened season last year.

Hutson led both teams with 15 kills and added 12 digs.

Annabelle Troy, who had a back-row kill to give the Mustangs (39-2) match point, also had 12 digs.

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Morgan Rank, the Mustangs' Alabama-bound libero, had a match-high 15 digs.

Regan Holmer complemented Hutson with 7 kills, several of which had major implications.

"It was amazing on both sides," Metea Valley coach Dave McDonald said of the team's defensive effort. "The whole season has been about resilience."

"We all just trust each other," said Troy, on the Mustangs' defense. "It was great for me to do that (the penultimate point) for the team. On defense, we all make sure we stay disciplined and do our jobs."

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