Neil Shalin’s girls volleyball notebook

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Metea Valley’s recent volleyball win over crosstown and conference rival Waubonsie Valley was an important match for the Mustangs.

It was the biggest match of the year for Metea and the win put the Mustangs ahead in the Upstate Eight Valley race.

But it was a memorable night for another reason because it was Dig Pink, Block Blue day at Metea Valley.

The girls and boys volleyball team worked together — as they will again during the boys season next spring — to raise money for research to fight both breast and prostate cancer.

“We sold T-shirts all week both in and out of school to raise money for research,” Metea captain Ellie Petersen said. “It was our biggest crowd of the year and many of the fans wore the T-shirts they bought for the event.”

The day’s festivities also included a raffle with prizes donated by parents and local businesses.

The proceeds from the T-shirt sale, raffles and gate receipts for the day resulted in donations of $1,000 to each of the local charities.

“As a team we had discussions during the week about what the day meant to us,” Petersen said. “That so many people we know were affected by breast cancer and prostate cancer. And, we talked about how great it felt to be playing for a cause in addition to your team and your school.”

Petersen had high praise for girls coach Dave MacDonald, boys coaches John Aister and Dou Burchett and the team parents who helped pull everything together.

“It was a true team effort,” she said. “And, we’re looking forward to working with the boys on this during their season.”

True Warrior

One of the key contributors in Waubonsie Valley’s current 27-win season has been junior outside hitter Becky Breuer, who has put down 168 kills going into the last regular-season match.

“Becky is an athlete who worked really hard on her speed and strength over the summer,” Waubonsie coach Kristen Stuart said. “It was clear this summer that she would be a starter. She came to our first practice in great shape, hitting the ball harder and with more confidence in her overall game.

“And she’s more than a hitter. She’s a fine passer and defensive player, as well.”

Stuart is not only impressed by Breuer’s skills, but the coach also noted that her talented outside has become a student of the game.

“She’s always asking questions,” Stuart said. “She applies what she learns right away. And she works hard every day. She’ll keep getting better.”

Redwings recovering

In a rare off day, two-time defending state champion Benet lost its first two matches in knockout play and finished 3-2 at last weekend’s Autumnfest at Glenbard East.

“It was the perfect storm,” Benet coach Brad Baker said about the losses to Glenbard West and Downers North. “We were just a little bit off and just about everything wasn’t working.

“We won two matches in pool play on Friday, but on Saturday we just seemed to wake up on the wrong side of the bed. There was no flow to our game.”

The Redwings are not counting on injured all-star senior middle hitter Brittany Pavich for the remainder of the season.

Pavich, who missed most of the season, recently played several matches, but, according to Baker, “her shoulder is just not getting better.”

The Redwings will proceed with a middle hitting combo of Rachael Fara and Marija Cyvas, who have been the starters most of the way.

Benet libero Caroline Wolf was named to the all-tournament team at Autumnfest.

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