By Joe Trost

Defense wins championships.

And that’s something Metea Valley is hoping to prove once again this fall.

With one of the state’s best in goal and an experienced midfield controlling the play, the Mustangs might be the playoff team everyone is hoping to avoid come late October.

Let’s take a closer look at Metea Valley’s preseason outlook presented by Rosati’s Pizza in Aurora:

Head coach: Josh Robinson, 10th season, 90-79-25 career record.

Recent season results: 2017 – 15-8-2, lost in Class 3A sectional; 2018 – 13-6-2, lost in Class 3A regional final.

Top returnees: Gandhi Cruz, Sr., G, Eclipse Select (club), seven shutouts in 2018; Matthew Dovalovsky, Sr., F; Colin Bastianoni, So., M, Eclipse Select (club); and Davis Quarles, Sr., M, Sockers (club).

Top newcomers: Tyler Kero, Sr., D, Galaxy (club); and Jacob Tune, Jr., M, Galaxy (club).

2019 outlook: “We lost 13 seniors, so we’re looking to build with a small core returning,” Robinson said. “Gandhi is one of the best goalkeepers in the state, and we’re also solid in the midfield as they all return. Can our new players step up right away to be impactful? We want to establish ourselves as a team that is difficult to score on.”

Keep an eye on: Whether Matthew Dovalovsky is starting or coming off the bench, he outworks opponents all game long. He plays forward, but believes in defending. Pay attention and enjoy the consistent work rate on the field. He’s a nuisance to defensive backs, as he grinds all 80 minutes.

Making A Difference: The Mustangs have been working with Feed My Starving Children. They’re also once again partnering with Hermes Elementary School teaching PE classes to students from Aurora.

College-bound players: Gandhi Cruz (undecided) and Davis Quarles (undecided).

Did you know? This is the 10-year anniversary of Metea Valley’s varsity team. This fall, the program is a part of a sports alliance at Metea Valley where it will work with girls volleyball and girls cross country to build a community of support and culture at the school.

Contact Joe Trost at

Bio on reporter: Joe Trost is an award-winning writer from the Star Newspapers, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and Locally, he is a three-time statewide IHSSCA Media Person of the Year and founder of the PepsiCo Showdown, the largest high school sports series in the U.S. He also is a board member with Buddy’s HELPERS and the creator of the Making A Difference On AND Off The Field campaign.