Mustang domination: A showcase of size, speed, and talent from girls’ soccer gives them a shot at eighth regional title


Max Berglind

The girls’ soccer team celebrates after a goal by Tyra King to give the Mustangs a 3-0 lead in Tuesday’s 5-0 win against West Aurora.

Max Berglind, Sports Reporter

Win-or-go home. Playoff soccer. The Metea Valley Mustangs and the West Aurora Blackhawks. This high stake game was played on Metea’s home field, the stands filled with supporters. This past Tuesday kicked off the highly-anticipated postseason for the Mustangs. The winner moves on to play in the regional final. 

In 80 minutes, every little bounce can go the right way or the wrong way. Those bounces can decide the outcome of a team’s season. 

In the 25 minute, one of those bounces found the foot of sophomore forward Lucy Burk. She blew past the Blackhawk defender with precision and lightning-quick footwork, putting it past the goaltender to make it 1-0. Burk’s fifth goal of the year gave the Mustangs a lead that they would not relinquish.

“You try to take advantage of anything you can,” head coach Chris Whaley said. “Luckily we have dynamic players at multiple positions, and people step up at different times, which is nice to see.”

The one-goal margin would not last long, as senior forward Jocie Grabow netted her seventh of the season in the 34 minute. A 2-0 lead for the Mustangs. 

The half would end with an advantage of two goals in the Mustangs’ favor. 

Eight minutes into the second half, junior forward Tyra King bullied her way through the West Aurora defense. This gave her the opportunity to blast a shot past the Blackhawk goaltender to extend the Mustang lead to three. 

King’s goal tally now stands at 17, and is now five goals from the school record for goals in a season. Using her height to her advantage, as well as her shot selection has been a large part of her success this season.

“I think just keeping my shots on frame and driving at defenders,” King said. “Then making sure to take shots when I had the opportunity to.” 

Midfielder Riley Strcic set up senior midfielder Leanne Barrett with a perfect lob a little over nine minutes later. Barrett put a perfect header in the top shelf of the net, and the Mustangs now had a 4-0 lead.

The Mustangs were dominating time of possession for the next 20 minutes, as the Blackhawks could hardly get anything going against the bulletproof defense. Every time a West Aurora forward touched the ball, there was either senior back Addison Wargo or senior back Justyce King to gain possession and clear the ball out of harm’s way. 

“We spend a lot of time working on possession,” Whaley said. “We also talked about how that possession needs to turn into quality opportunities and to make sure everything we do has a purpose.”

In the 78 minute, Burk found a loose rebound and pounced on it. Her goal made it 5-0, her sixth goal this year and second of the game. 

Sophomore goaltender Alyssa Gluting subbed in for senior Julia Straub after the first half, and they both combined for the shutout.

“I knew that we had to win and I was motivated to win,” King said.

The Mustangs secured their 16 win, bringing their record to 16-2-1. They have solidified a second place spot in the state and seventh in the country. This team is on fire right now, and that fire is showing no sign of burning out anytime soon. 

“They want to be the top team,” Whaley said. “So they are focused on getting there and they know that they have to.”

Catch the Mustangs in their regional final when they take on Plainfield North Tigers in their last game at Metea tonight.