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Metea seeks elusive win over Neuqua Valley

02/13/2013, 7:59pm CST
By By Paul Johnson

Metea Valley lost to Neuqua Valley in a regional championship last year and twice to the Wildcats this season. Metea will get another shot at its rival Friday when it hosts Neuqua in the Class 4A Metea Valley Regional final.

Metea Valley's Jenny Voytell defends Naperville North's Delaney White as she looks to pass on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, in Aurora. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media

In the short history of Metea Valley’s girls basketball program, the Mustangs haven’t been treated all that kindly by their Indian Prairie sister schools.

They were knocked out of the postseason by Waubonsie Valley in their first season, and then lost in the regional title game to Neuqua Valley last season.

Friday, Metea will get another shot at Neuqua in the Class 4A Metea Valley Regional title game at 7:30 p.m. Metea has already lost twice to Neuqua — the second seed in the Oswego Sectional — in Upstate Eight Valley play this season, and senior Lori Obendorf has seen enough.

“Obviously, we lost to them twice already and we lost to them in regionals last year,” Obendorf said after Metea’s 51-43 win over Oswego Tuesday. “I want to beat them. We’re going to bring everything we have. I don’t want my high school career to end.”

Back on Nov. 30, before injuries went to work on Metea’s record-breaking season, the Mustangs (22-6) were within seven points of Neuqua (25-3) in the first meeting. The second time around in January, Neuqua handed Metea a 60-43 loss. The Wildcats dominated Lockport in the regional semifinals, 72-16, holding the Porters scoreless in the second half.

“That’s what they say,” Metea coach Kris Kalivas said with a smile when it was suggested that it is hard to beat a team three times in one season. “The first game we played real tough with them and that’s a game I feel that we should have won. Second time, we kind of let that one get away. So obviously, we know what we’re going to face. Again, it’s going to be a matter of staying composed. At this point of the season, we’re both 1-0 and that’s how we have to look at it.”

Neuqua has visions of making a run at a state title, but the Wildcats are doing their best to stay focused on the task at hand — trying to beat a rival for the third time this season on its homecourt.

“I think it is (tough to beat a team three times), but at the same time I think that our kids recognize the impact there is when you play your sister school,” Neuqua coach Mike Williams said. “Anything can happen, but they’re not going to look past them.”

After injuries knocked out seniors Anna Pedersen and Bria Walker for the year, junior Jenny Voytell has helped fill the scoring void. A transfer from Neuqua, she knows all too well what the Mustangs will be facing Friday, and she has come into her own down the stretch this season. She led Metea with 16 points Tuesday.

“She’s brought so much to us with her speed and her long arms and her ability to score and play defense,” Obendorf said. “She’s a great player, a great addition to our team. We’re so glad to have her.”

Williams knows the impact that losing Pedersen and Walker had on Metea, but he’s not ready to assume anything come Friday night.

“When you lose Bria and the big kid underneath, which was a dominating factor, you lose something out of their repertoire,” Williams said. “But at the same time, they’re on their homecourt. And they have nothing to lose.”

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