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Metea Valley eyeing postseason success

02/11/2013, 7:16pm CST
By Paul Johnson

Despite being hit hard by injuries, Metea Valley brings a solid outlook into the Class 4A postseason, which begins this week.


Metea Valley's Lori Obendorf scores over Morgan Park's Khalilah Morrow during the 23rd annual McDonalds Shootout on Saturday, January 19, 2013 at Willowbrook High School in Villa Park IL. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media

Metea Valley’s girls basketball team was having the breakout season it expected, sitting at 18-5, when the seeding meetings for the Class 4A Oswego Sectional took place.

Despite that record, the Mustangs knew that they would be facing tough competition to get a high seed, with powerhouse Bolingbrook, Upstate Eight Valley champion Neuqua Valley, Benet and Romeoville in the field.

But the losses of seniors Anna Pedersen and Bria Walker to injury didn’t help the Mustangs’ cause.

So despite having a program-record 21 wins, the Mustangs open their own regional as a No. 7 seed. They face 10th-seeded Oswego Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. with the winner likely facing a showdown with Neuqua, a team Metea lost to twice during conference play, for the regional title.

“It’s just a tough sectional, it has been every year,” said Metea coach Kris Kalivas, who coached at Waubonsie Valley before starting Metea’s program. “I think some of it was that the coaches knew that Anna and Bria went down and we’re not as strong without them. Anything can happen.”

The team’s third senior, Lori Obendorf, has been there all season, however. She has put together one of the best seasons in the area, carrying the Mustangs through some tough times. She is planning to play at Loras next season.

“The great thing about Loris is that she’s so unselfish that teams miss her out there sometimes,” Kalivas said. “She focuses on the team and she’s worked extremely hard to get better both mentally and physically since her freshman year. She does a tremendous job.”

Despite the success this season, however, it’s hard not to imagine what things would be like with Pedersen and Walker still in the fold.

“It wasn’t the season that anybody imagined, but the kids have done a nice job of being resilient,” Kalivas said. “It’s extremely hard, both of those kids, Anna and Bria, have helped build the program. We had seven wins our first year. Both of them have still been leaders in practice and on the bench, talking to their teammates.”

The other intriguing local matchup in that sectional will happen at the Yorkville Regional Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. as Oswego East takes on Yorkville. The winner will likely face one of the state’s most powerful teams, top-seeded Bolingbrook, for the regional title Thursday.

At the Bartlett Sectional, fourth-seeded Geneva comes in on a roll. It’s been an interesting season for the Vikings, with junior point guard Michaela Loebel going down with a knee injury in November and post player Sydney Santos transitioning to the point. But Sami Pawlak has been solid and the Vikings still managed to win the Upstate Eight River title and upset Neuqua Valley to win the unofficial Upstate Eight title Thursday.

It looks like the St. Charles East Regional could come down to Geneva and its rival, fifth-seeded Batavia, for the title. Batavia junior Liza Fruendt has been one of the area’s most dynamic players this season, averaging 19.8 points per game.

In Class 3A, it appears that Plano and Kaneland are on a collision course to see each other in the Burlington Central Regional semifinals. Third-seeded Kaneland plays sixth-seeded Sandwich Tuesday with the winner drawing second-seeded Plano. The winner of that game will likely face the top-seeded regional hosts from Burlington for the regional crown Friday.

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