Metea Valley pushes Lyons to max, but Lions prevail

SHARE Metea Valley pushes Lyons to max, but Lions prevail

Hannah Juley sounded like a girl ready for the weekend.

A long week started Tuesday with an emotional win at Hinsdale Central, followed by a full plate of tests Thursday for Juley and her Lyons volleyball teammates.

“AP Psychology was the big one,” Juley said. “Everyone had that [Thursday].”

Metea Valley proved no walk in the park either, but the No. 4 Lions passed that 25-18, 27-25 in Aurora.

Lyons (21-1) trailed 19-16 at one point in Game 2, but gathered itself — Juley feeding Ariah Palter for a hard spike at match point.

“We looked at each other and said, ‘You know what, we’re a good team, we love playing for each other, let’s do this,’” said Juley, a senior setter committed to Wisconsin. “Let’s be 21-1 because we really want it.”

It’s been a busy week likewise for Metea (15-11), and a beneficial one. The Mustangs beat East Aurora on Tuesday and Downers Grove South on Wednesday, and then pushed Lyons to the limit.

The Mustangs struggled through an error-filled Game 1, and trailed 8-4 in the second.

Unbowed, Metea stormed back to take its first lead of the match at 12-11, and led 19-16 after a kill from freshman Alexis Dowd.

Metea coach Dave MacDonald watched his team go toe-to-toe with one of the area’s best teams, at one point doing so with Lexie Lobdell as the only senior on the court. Lobdell had eight kills and 14 digs, and Dowd seven. Sophomore Isabelle Palczynski, recently summoned to the varsity, added extra presence in the middle.

“I told them they were staying right with the second seed in the McAuley Sectional. That means you can play with pretty much anyone if you want to,” MacDonald said. “It just depends on which team shows up.”

Lyons weathered Metea’s surge, getting to match point at 24-22 when Toni Saracco’s dig of a Lobdell spike led to a Celine Jones kill. Dowd’s kill and ensuing block kept the match going, until a Metea serve into the net set up Palter’s kill for the win.

Autumn Long added 17 digs and Alexis Bass seven for Metea. Bass noted that playing a team like Lyons brings the Mustangs’ energy level up.

“It gives us motivation when we are able to stick with teams that we’re told we are underdogs against,” Bass said. “Team chemistry has come along, and so had individual player’s skill level.”

Cori Hanson had six kills and Jones four from Juley’s 16 assists for Lyons, whose only loss came to Providence at the Rich East Invitational with Juley out sick.

Lyons coach Joann Pyritz was pleased to get a few different girls action Thursday, namely Shalyn Brady, Meg Kern and Elizabeth Johnson.

“All three of those subs did a good job,” Pyritz said. “We’re never in a big hole, we’re really never more than two or three points out. We haven’t been all season. The girls play very steady. We’re best when we’re playing our great defense and when we get contributions from a lot of hitters.”

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