As the kid sister of the District 204 schools, Metea Valley relishes any chance to get the better of its more established rivals.
The Mustangs will get two chances in back-to-back games when they host Waubonsie Valley on Saturday and Neuqua Valley on Tuesday.
Metea defeated Neuqua for the first time in 2012, but has never beaten Waubonsie in four tries and has yet to score against the Warriors. Waubonsie knocked off Metea twice last year, including a 1-0 win in the regional title match.
“Of course we want to beat Waubonsie,” Metea forward Jenna Kentgen said. “We’re still bitter about the regional championship last year, so we definitely want to go out and put them in their place this year.”
This could be the final opportunity for Metea’s seniors to do so. It would be especially meaningful for players like Kentgen and defender Tracey McCoy.
Kentgen (Iowa) and McCoy (Grand Valley State) are Metea’s only current college commits and would like nothing more than to upset the Warriors, who have nine NCAA Division I players on their roster.
“I think it would be amazing because growing up, we always thought we were going to go to Waubonsie before Metea was built,” McCoy said. “So we always imagined playing as Warriors.”
So to put a different twist on an old saying, if you can’t join them, might as well beat them.
“It would be nice to beat them, especially since we’re, not a new school but newer than them,” Kentgen said. “They have the whole soccer reputation and we don’t.”
There are many reasons why Waubonsie has dominated Metea and many other schools, not the least of which is solid goalkeeping.
Most teams would be thrilled to have one D-I goalie, but the Warriors are blessed with two in juniors Emma Rigby and Erin Morgan, both of whom are in their third varsity seasons.
Rigby, an Iowa commit, has been the starter since she was a freshman and has had a hand in 26 shutouts while surrendering 27 goals in 52 games. The Eastern Illinois-bound Morgan appeared in parts of eight matches last year, including one start, and gave up just one goal.
While the two compete for playing time, there is no pecking order.
“She’s not one of my backups; she’s just my partner,” Rigby said. “We do everything together. We train well together and push each other to make each other better goalies.”
Rigby and Morgan split time during the first three games, with each playing a half, before Rigby went the distance in a 0-0 tie against Naperville Central. Rigby has yet to allow a goal, while Morgan has given up three, including a penalty kick.
Morgan, who would be the starter on most teams, is comfortable with her situation.
“We’re such good friends where I feel it’s not a bad environment at all,” Morgan said. “We both play at a high level so we’re able to look to each other for stuff to work on.
“It’s a good practice environment, too, because you can have two competitive teams with goalies so you can actually scrimmage. A lot of teams don’t have that.”
Waubonsie Valley coach Julie Bergstrom, a former Northern Illinois goalie, isn’t surprised the two get along so well.
“That’s pretty typical of a goalie relationship,” Bergstrom said. “Goalies tend to enjoy the company of each other and challenge each other. They’re used to that. They’re both good.”