Metea Valley was always an insurgent program.
The Mustangs tended to be overshadowed in its home area by conference rivals Naperville North and Naperville Central, and Benet.
The school was the third in the district that formed out of the explosive growth of Waubonsie Valley and Neuqua Valley high schools.
Those two programs had state championship equity in their glittering portfolios.
Metea Valley was a team seemingly destined to always occupy a specific perch, good, sometimes very good, on the verge of consequence, only to see the ultimate prize elude them.
In the astonishing aftermath of the Mustangs’ riveting penalty shootout Class 3A state championship victory over Barrington last June at North Central College, Metea Valley is now the team everyone is chasing.
Metea Valley has six returning starters, and most significantly, its top three scorers from last year. The leader is North Central recruit Jordan Lange, the reigning Chicagoland Soccer Player of the Year.
She was the orchestrator of the attack, amassing 17 goals and eight assists, providing a perfect outlet for two other all-state talents in forwards Tyra King and Lucy Burk.
That amazing triple option meant the Mustangs had no holes in their lineup. You could shut down Lange, or focus attention on Burk or King, but a select few had the talent and depth to neutralize all three players.
Now Metea Valley opens the new season where it left off, the top-ranked team in the First 50, the exclusive Chicagoland Soccer preseason poll of the state’s best teams, regardless of class, location or private or public status.
The tables have definitely turned. Metea Valley has gone from the insurgent and patented underdog to the team to dethrone.
“I will like the no. 1 (ranking), but that won’t stop us from working to stay in that spot all season long,” Lange said
Barrington, which arguably had the better and more consistent play in the 100 minutes during the state championship game, returns the core of that team.
The Fillies sit just behind the Mustangs.
Even more so than the boys side, the top girls programs tend to remain in their elite group year after year.
Two years ago downstate power O’Fallon ended the dominant run of Naperville North, Barrington and New Trier from their hammerlock on the large schools’ state championships.
Those programs remain where they always are, right in the mix, as the new season kicks off.
The past is always prologue with girls soccer. The best teams tend to feature the best players, face the toughest schedules, play in elite conferences and get invited to the best tournaments.
Given that, some surprises are undoubtedly in store. The competition is steep.
Given that, after the regular-season begins, there are more good teams than slots available in the two primary weekly polls conducted by Chicagoland Soccer — the Top 25 of the Chicago-area programs, and the Illinois 10 that features the best that reside outside that area.
With the large schools dominating both polls, Chicagoland Soccer will continue what we started last fall with two specialized polls, a Super 7 list for Class A and Class AA that recognizes schools caught in the middle.
Come back at the start of every week for those four polls.
|1||1||Metea V||22||2||1||Top 3 scorers from title team return|
|2||2||Barrington||23||3||3||Loaded w/ depth, talent and skill|
|3||21||Plainfield N||16||4||4||Roster features elite college prospects|
|4||4||Lyons||20||2||0||Experienced, tough and savvy|
|5||23||New Trier||12||8||5||Trevians looking for a big rebound|
|6||5||LWC||25||2||0||8 starters from state finals team|
|7||10||Oswego E||18||3||0||8 starters from historic sectional qualifier|
|8||18||SC East||20||5||2||7 starters back from supersectional qualifier|
|9||17||SC North||19||3||0||8 starters return from sectional finalist|
|10||12||Benet||22||5||1||Skilled, nucleus back from AA state finalist|
|11||14||Deerfield||23||4||2||AA 3rd place finisher can score|
|12||3||Naperville N||19||3||3||DeCook sisters lead Huskies’ reload|
|13||6||Evanston||21||4||1||4th place finisher loaded w/ speed, athleticism|
|14||11||Loyola||18||5||1||Ramblers are physical, talented and deep|
|15||31||ND (Quincy)||23||3||3||Return entire team from Class A state titleists|
|16||9||Naperville C||15||3||1||New coach Troy Adams led boys champions|
|17||11||Triad||25||1||0||2-time defending AA state champions|
|18||44||Lemont||19||5||0||Returns its lineup virtually intact|
|19||42||Lockport||16||7||1||4 club players bolster talented roster|
|20||8||Glenbrook N||20||2||1||Spartans loaded w/ great young talent|
|21||16||Edwardsville||15||8||0||Tigers return skill from supersectional qualifier|
|22||13||O’Fallon||20||2||0||Panthers are fast, athletic and dangerous offensively|
|23||7||Libertyville||17||4||2||Wildcats rebuild w/ youth, athleticism|
|24||20||Stevenson||16||3||1||New coach gets roster loaded w/ talent|
|25||32||Althoff||21||6||2||Top Class A program from South is back|
|26||35||Glenwood||20||4||0||Skilled, tough, great individual talent|
|27||36||CL Central||16||3||0||An emerging power w/ fantastic young talent|
|28||40||Carmel||12||6||1||Highly skilled attacking players boost Corsairs|
|29||26||Fremd||12||7||3||Young talent looks for rapid improvement|
|30||41||Richmnd-Brtn||23||2||1||Class A state finalist has elite, creative playmakers|
|31||27||Warren||12||4||4||Blue Devils have fantastic sophomore class|
|32||24||Lane||14||5||1||New era begins for 7-time defending city champions|
|33||25||Young||13||8||3||Dolphins sparkle w/ impressive young talent|
|34||22||Glenbard W.||15||7||1||Defense, goalkeeping are gold standard|
|35||30||Waterloo||19||5||1||Only team to beat Triad in ‘22 has explosive attack|
|36||NR||Columbia||16||8||1||Maddie Mauch 1 of best players in S. Illinois|
|37||47||Neuqua V||7||8||3||New staff has talented bunch|
|38||NR||Geneva||12||10||2||Vikings feature 13 returning rotation players|
|39||NR||Hersey||10||9||2||Return of Meghan Mrowicki alters fortunes|
|40||NR||Payton||14||6||3||Grizzlies look to break free of Lane, Young|
|41||46||Morton (B-C)||17||6||0||Mustangs feature scintillating offensive talent|
|42||28||WWS||13||5||3||Depth, style offset steep graduation losses|
|43||34||Boylan||19||2||0||Brimming w/ confidence after strong campaign|
|44||33||Dunlap||19||3||3||Model of consistency looks aims for another run|
|45||29||Fenwick||13||8||2||Friars hope to turn state trip into more wins|
|46||NR||Montini||14||5||2||Solid nucleus from historic Class A state final side|
|47||49||Bartlett||11||9||2||9 starters back from undefeated U8 co-champ|
|48||NR||Jones||8||9||1||Eagles hope injury bug behind them|
|49||45||DeLaSalle||21||4||0||Meteors aim to continue upward trajectory|
|50||39||Prospect||15||5||1||Knights look to show ‘22 no fluke|