After dispatching state powerhouses Naperville North and Naperville Central in a span of one week, Metea Valley stunned North one more time in its sectional final before sending off Edwardsville to reach the state finals for the first time in its program history.
Friday night on the campus of North Central College in Naperville, the Mustangs (21-2-1) thrilled a big crowd with two first half goals. They then managed their lead throughout the second half to defeat Lincoln-Way Central 2-0 to move into the Class 3A state final at 7 pm Saturday against Barrington.
“We’ve worked hard all year to get (here) and now we want to make history tomorrow night,” said Mustangs senior Jocelyn Grabow, who with her back line mates kept the Knights’ Christine Erdman and Madson under wraps to help keeper Julia Straub earn the shutout.
“This team has been tested time-after-time this season, so we came in ready to play, and showed it with those two first-half goals,” said Mustangs coach Chris Whaley, who in Tuesday’s 2-0 supersectional victory against Edwardsville collected his 100th victory of his career.
The Mustangs flashed the first ominous sign of the night when Grabow initiated the counter from deep in her own end, connecting with Tyra King who roared up the left side. King drew Knights keeper Alexa Hadley far off her line, leaving her back post unmarked.
King played a lovely ball to Lucy Burk, and the sophomore steered in her eighth of the season just before the quarter hour.
“I know once I played the ball out of the back to Tyra (that) we would score. If you visualize something like that (it) can happen,” said Grabow, who will attend Indiana University next fall where she has been accepted to the prestigious Kelley School of Business.
Now brimming with confidence, the Mustangs settled into their game with a smooth, quick passing style of play that kept the Knights under pressure for the rest of the first half. That led to a Tyra King goal, her 20th, in the 26th minute.
“We had a great first half tonight to take control, and although we could have added another one or two after the break, I thought we played a solid game on both sides of the ball to help get us in the game we’ve been wanting for a long time,” said Whaley.
Lincoln-Way Central, here for the fourth time in program history, will play Evanston 5 pm Saturday in the third-place game.