In November, junior midfielder Jordan Lange traveled to Illinois State University to watch the Metea Valley women’s volleyball team play in the Class 4A state championship game. .
Little did she know she was entering a time machine projecting the future.
“I saw a group of girls on the team, and seeing them win was such a motivation,” Lange said. “To do something, you have to dream about it.
“You see other people doing it at your school – you think it’s such a cool and amazing thing.”
She then pondered a similar question about the girls’ soccer team.
“Could we do that?”
Seven months later, the Metea Valley Women’s Soccer Team led by Lange provided the answer with a remarkable bookend at the Women’s State Volleyball Championship.
The Mustangs beat Barrington 6-5 in a penalty shootout for a 1-0 victory in the Class 3A state championship game on Saturday, June 4 at North Central College in Naperville.
Until this academic year, Metea had never won a state title in any sport.
Lange, the 2022 Beacon-News/Courier-News Women’s Soccer Player of the Year, was the catalyst for the Mustangs with her blend of creativity, vision and selfless play.
“Jordan deserves all the credit in the world,” said Metea coach Chris Whaley. “She’s a creative and confident player. She’s scored so many big goals for the team.
“But more importantly, she gives confidence to the team and makes other people better. ”
Lange definitely made Metea (22-2-1) much better, finishing with 17 goals and eight assists as the Mustangs did not lose this spring to a team from Illinois.
She also scored the most important goal in program history, netting in the 71st minute of a 1–0 win over Naperville North in Naperville’s Central Division Championship game.
The winner of this game was considered the state title favorite, given that Naperville North had already beaten second-placed state title Barrington twice.
“Jordan was the engine that kept Metea going,” said Naperville North coach Steve Goletz. “Her ability to create chances for herself and her teammates was a huge reason why they had a historic season.”
After his first season was canceled by the pandemic, Lange had a breakthrough second year, scoring 10 goals and contributing 13 assists.
Her team-first mentality has always endeared her to her teammates and made her an invaluable teammate, according to junior midfielder Riley Strcic.
“I think everyone knows she’s an amazing player with unique talents,” Strcic said. “But only her coaches, teammates and family know how humble she really is.
“Jordan always puts others first and wants to do their best for the good of the team. I know that every teammate roots for her because of her quality as a person.
His growth was also rooted in patience. Growing up, she played in the shadow of her sister, Halle, who just finished her freshman season at Illinois Wesleyan.
The little sister started strutting around playing at the Chicago team club.
“I absolutely loved it,” Jordan said. “I saw that it was something I could be really good at. I think the more I played, the more I fell in love with the game.”
Lange is now considering the next step in his career. In addition to playing with the Chicago team, she organizes university visits.
“I’m still not sure what I want to do,” Lange said. “I’m going to take the summer to watch the schools and figure out what I want.”
With Lange, junior forward Tyra King, Strcic and sophomore forward Lucy Burk as the solid returning core, Metea should remain a force, especially with Lange in the lead role.
Just ask the opposition.
“Jordan is great fun to watch,” Goletz said, “but not great fun to counter.”
Patrick Z. McGavin is a freelance writer for the Naperville Sun.