Metamora's run ends in Elite 8

Tom Batters
Metamora senior Paige Garber celebrates her team;s Sectional championship Thursday night in LaSalle.

It only took about 40 minutes for Joliet Catholic to beat Metamora in the Class 3A Ottawa Supersectional Saturday, but those 40 minutes were not the true measure of this season.

The applause that the Metamora players and coach Karla Bartman received as they came out of the locker room after the match was a more telling picture.

“We have our heads held high,” Bartman said. “It hurts to lose, but I’m so proud of this team. We had so many great memories this season. This was a great team to be a part of.”

Joliet Catholic (33-7) was bigger, stronger and even luckier than Metamora Saturday during its 25-15, 25-19 victory.

“They (were a very good team, and, when you face a team like that, you have to play a perfect game,” Bartman said. “We gave it our best shot, though. I’m proud of how hard we competed today.”

The Redbirds (28-12)were in a tight battle with JC late in the second set when the line judge blatantly missed a call that went in Joliet Catholic’s favor to make it 24-19. The Angels got the next point to seal the victory.

A Joliet Catholic shot landed out of bounds in front of the line judge, who was moving back to get out of the way of the ball when she called the shot in bounds. Bartman (after being slighted on a couple other calls earlier in the set) was furious and pleaded with the referees to get help on the call. But the two referees concurred with the line judge and the call was not reversed.

“It’s a shame that we had that go against us there,” Bartman said. “You never know what could have happened if we got that call.”

Seniors Paige Garber (six kills) and Taylor Matson (10 assist), along with junior Kristin Rauh (seven digs) led the Redbirds, who were not expected to get this far.

Metamora knocked off Washington (after losing to the Panthers in three previous matches) and Morris to win the LaSalle-Peru Sectional last week.

“Even after we lost those two conference games (to Washington and Limestone) at the end of the season, we never gave up, and we kept playing hard,” Bartman said. “We really came together over the past couple weeks. There are a lot of other teams that would have liked the opportunity to play in a Supersectional. We were able to get this far, and that says a lot about this team.”

Bartman said she told the sophomores and juniors that they still have “unfinished business.”

“We want to make it down there (to the state finals at Redbird Arena) for all the girls who have played here in the past who have not had that opportunity,” Bartman said. “That’s going to be the goal for these juniors.”