MUNDELEIN — Madi Wilcox’s senior year just got a lot less complicated. Sure, the Mundelein setter still has to worry about prom, exams and the emotional crescendo that is gradation.
But beating Barrington? Check that one off the list.
“In my past three years I’ve never beaten Barrington,” Wilcox said. “It’s always been that team that we’re close to and we can’t make that push.”
Finally, the Mustangs took down Barrington in three sets (10-25, 25-17, 25-22) on Aug. 30. It took three seasons, but Wilcox and the rest of the Mundelein seniors eventually did what Sisyphus never could and rolled that stubborn boulder all the way up the hill. And when the final point was scored and the burden was lifted, the Mustangs went wild.
“After that last point it just all came together,” junior outside hitter Yasmeen Johnson said. “I hit the last point of the game and right when I got done I was like, ‘Oh my god, we just beat Barrington.’ It was just an awesome feeling.”
To makes things even more special for Mundelein, it accomplished its big victory in front of a crowd usually only seen in the playoffs. The Hawaiian shirt-filled, bikini-wearing student section was emotionally invested and riotous from start to finish – something almost unheard of for a third match of the year.
“Emotion was the key for this match,” Mundelein coach George Dressen said. “This was probably the biggest crowd we’ve had in here for a long time. The feeling was almost like a sectional final, getting ready to go to state.”
Physically, Johnson may have been Mundelein’s catalyst, leading the team with nine kills, including the crucial game winner. But the poise and guidance of Wilcox kept the team focused when the Broncos roared back to take a 20-18 lead late in the decisive third game.
“I want to be that person everyone can look to to stay calm,” Wilcox said. “At the same time I want to be able to pump my team up; I kind of want to have that balance between the two. I want players to be able to look to me and know that I’m going to be able to support them and stay calm, but I also want to be able to motivate them and say, ‘Hey, you can do this.’ ”
Wilcox’s last season has already become a special one in just three matches. If the magic continues, knocking off Barrington definitely won’t be the last big accomplishment she checks off her list.
“I think having this win, it’s going to be like, ‘Look at Barrington, they always have this amazing record,’ ” Wilcox said. “Now we can have that record, too.”