Littleton ends Mullen’s bid on the 4A pitch

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

They gave it a go as they did down the late stretch of their schedule.

But Mullen simply didn’t have enough on Saturday, couldn’t make the plays and couldn’t advance.

The Mustangs dropped a 3-1 match to Littleton in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs and certainly left the turf at Littleton Public Schools Stadium wanting more, but not getting it.

In finishing an up-and-down 6-7-4, the Mustangs had been bubbly, coming off a 1-0 double-overtime knock off of defending 4A state champion D’Evelyn, but the Lions, in advancing to Wednesday’s quarterfinals at 10-5-2, established control early and held it.

Fact is, the Mustangs have had difficulty scoring all season and it caught up to them again on Saturday.  

“I know we scored a late one,” head coach Matthew Guglielmo said, agreeing that it may have been simply a whisper in the wind, ”but (the Lions) scored three goals and they were fantastic and they were super finishes.

“We don’t score a lot of goals. We needed production and we just didn’t get it.”

Littleton never trailed. The Lions grabbed the lead in the 14th minute, made it 2-0 in the 29th minute and, as Guglielmo said, played good defense and clogged the middle. The Littleton lead crested at 3-0 in the 61st minute.

Mullen’s score came from a bender by freshman Anna Seaman, who was particularly effective of late, in the 73rd minute that temporary sparked additional life in the Mustangs, but Littleton kept protecting.

“Credit them,” Guglielmo said of the Lions.

He cited senior and captain Anna Brehm and Seaman for top efforts, “but we needed a little more,” the coach said.

Looking forward, Guglielmo said he loses “quality players, quality humans,” but his bench players are interesting, it was a strong junior-varsity group and, who knows, he wondered, “maybe some in the halls (of the school) will want to come back and play. We’ll be solid next year.”

 

Mustangs shock defending champ D’Evelyn 1-0 in 2OT

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Makena Guthrie was all alone and wanted the ball. Anna Seaman gave it to her and Guthrie knew what to do with it.

The junior rifled a dead-on shot from about 35 yards that kissed the bottom of the crossbar, went in and sent Mullen into pandemonium. The goal gave Mullen, the No. 29 seed in the Class 4A state playoff bracket, a 1-0 decision in double overtime on Wednesday night over No. 4 D’Evelyn, the defending state champion, at a well-attended Lakewood Memorial Field.

The Mustangs levelled their record at 6-6-4 and ended the season of the Jaguars (9-5-2), who had won their previous five postseason games and not given up a goal in their past three playoff matches.

Mullen next will get Littleton, the No. 12 seed that eliminated No. 20 Palmer Ridge 2-1.

Technically, Guthrie’s goal came with 6:28 to play in the second OT, or the 103rd minute. As far as she was concerned, it could have happened in the 1,000,000th minute, just as long as the Mustangs advanced.

“(Seaman) laid it off to me and I was calling really hard for the ball,” said Guthrie, a defensive center-middie. “I saw the (opportunity for) the shot and knew it could be game over. You have to take a chance.”

She did and Mullen, which had been 3-6-3, suffered through a stretch of 0-4-3 and was in serious jeopardy of missing the postseason, practically danced off the field.

Seaman, who scored the game’s only goal on a somewhat similar shot against Air Academy that was key toward playoff qualifying, was about to take the shot herself. However, she said. “(Guthrie) was calling for the ball and I gave it to her. She was wide open.”

Good thing she did, she said, as “it worked out like I wanted it to. It was crazy.”

Mullen coach Matthew Guglielmo, who said he appreciated his team’s game-long effort and that it showed his group what’s possible, said “I thought we had a wonderful chance if we played, and we did … they really fought. We needed to fix some things (in previous games) and we did.”

D’Evelyn carried a lot of the play in the first half before Mullen started to gradually take territorial command through the end of regulation. Though the Jags had the better scoring chances, including hitting the crossbar and a post, Mullen remained patient.

It appeared penalty kicks were destined to decide it as the scoring chances dwindled, but the Mustangs took their chance … and it worked.

Guglielmo said he felt Mullen’s pressure wore on the Jags and the Mustangs received spirited efforts from a host of players, including keepers Emma Ryan and Kaitlyn Harry (both were sharp and played smartly), as well as Kaylah Wanna, Anna Brehm, Seaman, Guthrie, Juliana Zinis and Grace Reuter, among others.

“I’m really proud of them,” Guglielmo said.

Defending champ awaits

Mustangs readying for 4A 1st-rounder vs. D’Evelyn

Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

In a season of struggle, an awful lot finally went right recently for Mullen girls soccer.

For one thing, the Mustangs probably had their best outing of the season on Friday, when they beat visiting Air Academy 1-0. Mullen forced the issue, defended and got after it all match.

For another, and with a fair amount of its starters missing the game because of prom, Mullen gutted out a scoreless tie at Conifer on Saturday that solidified its No. 29 spot in the 32-team Class 4A playoff bracket.

Add in the facts that 5A Grandview – the Mustangs compete in the Centennial League with the Wolves -- won in overtime to stay undefeated; Vail Mountain downed Battle Mountain; Centaurus and Steamboat Springs tied; and Mustangs head coach Matthew Giuglielmo was able to land the Conifer match in nonleague late, and the summary is a first-round matchup with Jefferson County’s D’Evelyn, the defending state champion, on Wednesday, 7 p.m., at Lakewood Memorial Field.

“(Saturday) was colossal for us,” the coach said. “All of those things happening and without that (Conifer) game, we’re (No.) 30 and probably get bumped because of the three automatics (league champions that weren’t within the top 32 RPI).”

Plus, he added, “there’s something to be said for playing a tough schedule.”

Now 5-6-4, Mullen enters the postseason with just five seniors as well as an even split in goals for and against this season – 25-25.

“I’m really happy,” Guglielmo said. “We started out OK, then up, down, up, down, then we finished strong. That shows you we’re tough. I need a whole team to step up and play.”

A Mustangs roster, headed by captain Anna Brehm, is led in scoring by Kaitlin Konkel, a senior, and freshman Anna Seaman. Both have a modest four goals. And it’s balanced – 12 Mustangs have reached the back of the net.

In goal, sophomore Emma Ryan and senior Kaitlyn Harry have split time just about evenly.

As for D’Evelyn (9-4-2), it finished the regular season tied for third in 4A Jefferson County. Scoring has been a problem for both the Jaguars and their foes – they own a 19-17 composite edge in goals. In fact, the Jags have been involved in only three matches in which more than four goals have been scored. Freshman Lauren Cooks tops the team with five goals.

“We’re not afraid of anyone,” Guglielmo said. “When we walk out on the field, it’s probably the benefit of playing in our league. Some know D’Evelyn won (the past season); some don’t. But they know they’re a good team.

“If we play, we get a ‘W.’”

Below is a link to the 4A bracket:

http://www.maxpreps.com/tournament/plkzH1FAEeiAxvL2rdhhtw/rFPYTFFAEeiAxvL2rdhhtw/girls-soccer-spring-18/2018-chsaa-girls-soccer-state-championships-class-4a.htm

Mullen earns key pitch victory over Kadets

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

In an up-and-down season, Mullen girls soccer had an up game on Friday and it came at the right time.

The Mustangs won a tight 1-0 match at home against Air Academy in nonleague that very well could be the one to send them into the Class 4A state playoffs that will be announced on Sunday.

“I hope so,” Mustangs freshman Anna Seaman said. “We play again (Saturday at Conifer), so this was the one (we had to have).”

Said Mullen head coach Matthew Guglielmo: “We don’t know, we were (No. 33) coming in (32 will advance to state).”

Trying to climb to 29 would be a good idea, he added, when considering automatic berths for league champions as would going to Conifer, “a tough place to play, and playing well (on Saturday).”

Mullen’s elevator-style season is now a rather odd 5-6-3 --it also beat Overland 10-0 on Monday in a make-up game -- and the usually good Kadets also are 6-6-2 despite owners of winning records in seven of eight seasons, but in a match that produced only one goal, there was plenty to see, including hitting posts and crossbars as if in an NHL Playoff game, tested defenses that responded and a lot of back-and-forth.

The Mustangs popped the left goal post twice in the opening minutes and were unable to score until the 45th minute, when Seaman unloaded one from just past the circle.

“Those are shots I usually take,” she said of firing from longer range. “Thankfully, I got under it and (the Kadats) goalie was facing the sun.”

Air Academy responded down the stretch by rattling a shot off the crossbar as did Mullen among its last couple of chances, but that’s how it remained.

Seaman’s goal was her fourth of the season. Alexandra Deorio, Jade Garcia, Makena Guthrie, Kaitlyn Konkel, Lydia Osberg, Anna Riddle and Kaylah Wanna also were In the Mullen shot parade. Keepers Emma Ryan and Kaitlyn Harry were sharp when needed.

Potentially, Guglielmo said, all kinds of things can happen heading into the bracket, “and the girls did what they could do to secure the game.”

The Mustangs will be at less than full strength for the Conifer match, 5:30 p.m., as it also is Mullen prom night.

 

MULLEN 1, AIR ACADEMY 0

Air Academy 0  0  --  0

Mullen         0   1  --  1

Scoring: Anna Seaman, 45th minute.

Struggles continue, girls soccer beaten 4-0

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

The slide keeps going.

Mullen was shut out at home on Tuesday as Grandview took a 4-0 girls soccer victory in the Centennial League.

The Mustangs dropped to 2-6-3 overall, 1-4-1 in league. Over their past seven matches, the Mustangs are 0-4-3. In being outscored 15-5 over the span, Mullen hasn’t won since April 5, when it beat Eaglecrest 2-1.

On Tuesday, the Wolves (10-0-2, 6-0-1), who remain at the top of the league, led 1-0 at half before they put it away with three more scores. All Grandview goals were unassisted.

It was Grandview’s 10th shutout on the season, fifth in succession, and it owns a whopping 48-3 aggregate scoring edge.

Mullen will resume play on Thursday, April, 26, at Vail Mountain in nonleague, 4 p.m. The Mustangs also will have a Saturday match in league, April 28, at Overland in Aurora, 3 p.m.

Girls soccer skid reaches 0-2-2 with league loss

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Mullen’s odd skid in girls soccer continued on Tuesday.

The Mustangs fell 5-1 to Cherokee Trail in the Centennial League at home. They are 0-2-2 over their past four matches and have been outscored 8-4.

They are 2-4-2 overall, 1-3-1 in league, and have scored just nine goals on the season.

Senior Kaitlyn Konkel scored for Mullen with an assist by junior Makena Guthrie.

However, the Mustangs were outshot 12-4 with balls on goal and fell behind 3-0 at halftime.

Mullen will resume play on Thursday April 19, at Denver East in nonleague, 6 p.m.

No one wins again – Mullen gets 2nd tie in a row

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

For the second consecutive game, Mullen girls soccer didn’t win or lose. The Mustangs tied.

On Saturday, the Mustangs settled for a 1-1 tie in double overtime with visiting Palisade, a Class 4A nonleague game.

Earlier last week, Mullen had a scoreless tie with 5A Smoky Hill in the Centennial League.

Mullen is 2-3-2 overall. Palisade, a member of the 4A Western Slope League, is 5-3-2.

The Mustangs could only muster a first-half goal by junior Kaylah Wanna. The Bulldogs tied it at 1 in the second half before consecutive, extra 10-minute sessions couldn’t decide it.

Wanna also led the Mustangs in shots. She fired off five of Mullen’s nine, including two of its three on goal. Senior Lydia Osberg assisted on Wanna’s goal.

Once again, sophomore Emma Ryan and senior Kaitlyn Harry split halves in goal with Ryan also manning the goal for the overtimes.    

Mullen resumes play on Tuesday, April 17, in Centennial League play at home against Aurora’s Cherokee Trail. A couple of nonleaguers will follow -- the Mustangs will be at 5A Denver East on Thursday, April 19, at 6 p.m., then host a match on Saturday, April 21, against 5A Fruita Monument, at 1 p.m.

Mustangs listless, flat in 0-0 tie with Smoky Hill

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

GREENWOOID VILLAGE -- It was a tie, so no one won …and no one was happy.

In particular, Mullen head coach Matthew Guglielmo was steaming after his team’s 0-0 stalemate with Smoky Hill on Thursday night at the Stutler Bowl and it had little to do with the unusually warm conditions, although like the weather forecast, a storm was coming.

“I won’t even tell you that it was the result that I’m not thrilled with,” Guglielmo said. “It was the performance by my team that I’m disappointed in. (His players) had a horrible practice (on Wednesday) and we had a horrible game. I have unmotivated players, I have players who don’t want to be here and they are going to be rooted out quickly.”

Even two 10-minute overtimes couldn’t produce a goal as the Mustangs dipped to 2-3-1 overall, 1-2-1 in the Centennial. Smoky Hill was 2-8, 1-2 coming into the match.

Guglielmo acknowledged the Buffaloes “were 2-8,” driving home the point that he felt his Mustangs should have walked off the artificial pitch with a victory, but “our opponent had a goof game plan and we couldn’t do anything.”

The Mustangs were slow with the ball, didn’t pass well, didn’t finish and even spent a lot of time in the Smoky Hill end, but to no avail. Their scoring chances fizzled.

“Sometimes you need a performance like this to make it clear,” Guglielmo said.

Over 100 minutes, Mullen mustered only six shots on goal. Keepers Emma Ryan and Kaitlyn Harry split time and combined to stop seven shots.

In other words, there wasn’t a lot of action.

“They were flat yesterday and were really flat today,” Guglielmo said.

Mullen will welcome the Western Slope’s Palisade on Saturday, 5 p.m., in nonleague.

“(The Bulldogs) are good,” the coach said.

And he’ll be looking for a change in attitude.

Mustangs thisclose against Creek girls soccer

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Consider it as a strong effort that wasn’t quite good enough.

Mullen gave powerful Cherry Creek all it wanted in girls soccer on Tuesday night, but came up just short.

The Bruins scored late – with about 5 minutes to go – to take a 3-2 decision at the Stutler Bowl in the Centennial League.

The Mustangs dropped to 2-3 overall, 1-2 in league. Cherry Creek moved to 6-2 overall, 2-1 in league.

Goals by Anna Seaman and Anna Riddle kept the Mustangs in the chase until the end. However, the Bruins got two goals after halftime.

Seaman and Jade Garcia contributed assists for Mullen, which managed five shots, four on goal.

Mustangs senior Kaitlyn Harry managed eight saves.

Mullen will resume play on Thursday, April 12, against Smoky Hill at the Stutler Bowl in Greenwood Village, 6 p.m. It’s another league game. The Buffaloes are 2-8, 1-2.

Deorio, Seaman goals push Mullen past Raptors

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Mullen bounced back, which is what coach Matthew Guglielmo wanted to see.

The Mustangs scored twice on the second half on Thursday as they rallied to get past visiting Eaglecrest 2-1 in Centennial League play.

In improving to 2-2 overall as well as 1-1 in league, the Mustangs responded after getting spanked 5-0 to Arapahoe earlier in the week.

Junior Alexandra Deorio and senior Anna Seaman got the goals.

“It’s probably the best we’ve played,” Guglielmo said. “I feel like it was the culmination of winning after a couple of losses, getting dumped, practice sessions and the girls becoming just a just little more acclimated to varsity soccer.

“Plus, Eaglecrest is improving ... it was a very gritty game.”

The Raptors, now 3-4-1, 1-1, enjoyed holding the lead and played well for a bit protecting it, but Gugllelmo said “there was no panic” for the Mustangs. “We couldn’t even tell we were down a goal.”

Anna Brehm and Makena Guthrie added assists for Mullen. The Mustangs mustered eight shots on goal, and sophomore Emma Ryan and Kaitlyn Harry split time at keeper. Each turned in two saves.

“I love our kids,” Guglielmo said. “They’re great, easy to coach and are a fun bunch. And I liked the way we played.”

The Mustangs, after a slow start to their schedule, have embarked on a 12-game schedule for the month. They will visit always relevant Cherry Creek in Greenwood Village on April 10, 6 p.m., at the Stutler Bowl, another league meeting.

  

MULLEN 2, EAGLCREST 1

Eaglecrest  1   0  --  1

Mullen        0   2  --  2

Mullen goals – Alexander Deorio, Anna Seaman.

Mullen assists – Anna Brehm, Makena Guthrie.

Mullen keepers – Emma Ryan, Kaitlyn Harry, 2 saves each.

Arapahoe blanks Mustangs on the pitch 5-0

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Head coach Matthew Guglielmo is a realist.

Tuesday’s 5-0 home loss by Mullen to Arapahoe in the Centennial League is no reason to panic or pitch a fit, even with a 1-2 overall record (0-1 in league).

“I’ve never been 1-2 at Mullen, never been below. 500,” he said of his stint heading the Mustangs. “I’m OK with it because I now we won’t finish below .500.”

Runner-up a year ago in Class 5A, the Warriors, who improved to 5-2, 1-0, have won double-figure games in seven of their past nine seasons and been regular state challengers.

“It wasn’t a loss of nightmarish proportions; we know they’re good.” the coach said.

Arapahoe led 2-nil over the first 15 minutes, upped its lead to three by halftime and added a couple more scores over the final 40 minutes. Along the way, the Warriors forced Mullen keepers Kaitlyn Harry and Emma Ryan to make a combined nine saves. None of the Warriors goals had anything to do with the play in goal, Guglielmo said.

“We made some glaring mistakes,” he added while noting “and we had very few chances.”

Overall, Guglielmo said, “I would tell you we played a team better than us and was probably deserving of the victory. They just got to balls a step quicker, one second quicker … I would not tell you they wanted it more. It was more of an age thing. That wasn’t the difference in the game, but it changed the game.”

The Mustangs were able to rest some players late in looking toward Thursday’s home game in league against Centennial’s Eaglecrest, 4:30 p.m.

“It will allow us to have a better session (Wednesday) and come back and get a ‘W’,” the coach said.

Mullen mustered five shots, two on goal by senior Emma Brehm.

 

Girls soccer levels mark at 1-1

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Mullen girls soccer grabbed its first victory in 2018, handling St. Mary’s of Colorado Springs 1-0 on Thursday night.

The Mustangs are 1-1. They hadn’t played in two weeks. A match against Broomfield’s Holy Family was postponed because of the last snowstorm and they fell 3-2 to Jefferson County’s Golden on March 8.

Mustangs sophomore Jade Garcia provided the match’s only goal, a second-half score.

Eight Mullen players combined for 14 shots, eight on goal, topped by junior Kaylah Wanna’s three and two, respectively. Senior Grace Reuter added three shots.

Keepers Emma Ryan, a sophomore, and Kaitlyn Harry, a senior, split halves and combined to stop seven Pirates shots, four by Ryan.

 Mullen will be idle over spring break. It will resume play on April 3, 4:30 p.m., when it will entertain Arapahoe to open Centennial League play.

Mustangs girls soccer drops opener

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Mullen girls soccer began its season on Thursday, opening day for spring sports, with a 3-2 setback to Golden at the North Area Athletic Complex in Arvada.

The Mustangs dropped the Class 4A nonleague match despite goals by sophomores Anna Riddle and Jade Garcia. The Mustangs also mustered nine shots on goal.

 However, the Jefferson County Demons got two of their scores in the second half to win it.

 Mullen goalie Emma Ryan, another sophomore, faced nine shots.

 The Mustangs will be idle for 11 days. Their next match will be March 19 at Holy Family in Broomfield, another 4A nonleaguer.

  

Spring Preview: Girls soccer ready to kick it in

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Look for both similarities and differences in this year’s Mullen girls soccer.

There will be a combination of familiar and new faces, standard and innovative styles, and a mix of past, present and future.

“It’s not like we’re this brand-new team,” head coach Matthew Guglielmo said. “We’ll look different, but we’ll still be athletic and play soccer just a little differently.”

The Mustangs were 12-5 overall and fell in Colorado’s 2017 Class 4A quarterfinals to Valor Christian. They were 3-4 in the 5A-based Centennial League.

“The league will always be a challenge for us,” the coach said. “It’s tough soccer and we’d like to get some wins. Then, outside the league we were also strong, knowing full well those teams can play.”

Some of the differences this year in personnel evolve around graduation losses, some transfers and issues with playing on the academy level, where soccer continues to battle the conflict.

“That has occurred,” Guglielmo said. “You can’t serve two masters.”

Two key starters return– Anna Brehm, a captain, four-year starter and center-back, and Kaylah Wanna, a center-mid.

Two freshmen will move into the starting lineup, Zoe Polzin, midfielder, and Anna Seaman, a striker. Fourth-year player Grace Reuter, junior Makena Guthrie and Leah Nuanes also will see lots of pitch time and, Guglielmo said, ”then we move up a bunch of players from (junior varsity).”

The Mustangs, who were 10-5 in the regular season, will open on Thursday, March 8, against Golden at the NAAC in Arvada, 6 p.m.

“We have girls improving on a daily basis, they’re receptive, coachable, playing hard, and they’re practicing hard and smartly, which matters,” Guglielmo said.

 

Mustangs win in first round of 4A playoffs

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It was a cold, wet, windy and dreary late afternoon on Wednesday and the Mullen girls soccer team was down a few players, one to a red card (suspension) and two to injuries.

Sophomore Kaylah Wanna, like the rest of the Mustangs, was well aware and wanted to do something about it.

“We knew we had to win it for them,” Wanna said, “to be able to play in the playoffs (in the next round). So when the ball came, I wanted to get something on it, get a foot on it.”

Actually, Wanna got a lot of foot on it, scored the deciding goal, then added one for insurance as the Mustangs protected home pitch with a 3-1 decision of Palmer Ridge in the opening round of the Class 4A state playoffs.

The Mustangs, who made the semifinals a year ago, improved to 11-5 and will host Durango in the second round on Saturday. As of Wednesday evening, Mustangs officials were leaning toward a 1 p.m.start. The Demons are 12-4, have won five straight matches and are fresh from a 6-0 home whipping of Canon City.

Tied at 1 after the first half, Wanna and the Mustangs upped their pressure and responded quickly. In the 44th minute, she was able to get a ball from Anna Brehm and get it past Ali Tobey, a very game Bears keeper.

Mullen was able to handle exchanges from Palmer Ridge, which ended 7-9, into the final minutes and just missed a couple of times on opportunities out front of the Bears goal. Wanna then made it a two-goal bulge in the 75th minute from an offering by Jaya Trujillo.

Plus, the Mustangs withstood the late loss of keeper Kaitlynn Harry, who got kicked in the tooth off a scrum in front of the goal. Freshman Emma Ryan substituted and showed well, coach Matthew Guglielmo said, noting her couple of saves.

Overall, the coach said, his “biggest gripe” other than rough play under bad conditions was “we were not focused enough and didn’t play smart. We talked about it at halftime and we just didn’t fix it. And it all can’t be for missing some players.”

But, he added, “ultimately, we won the game and moved on. That’s the most important thing.”

Mullen, which put forth the effort, Guglielmo said, had trailed 1-0 as Palmer Ridge struck first, in the 22nd minute, but Trujillo, who assisted on Wanna’s second goal, headed home the equalizer 4 minutes later off a corner kick by Lilly Sanchez.

Wanna said Trujillo’s goal “helped everybody work harder.”

Guglielmo added that “any time you win in the tournament, it’s big.”

Plus, Wanna, sported a bloody lip for her efforts and was OK with it. Yes, she said, it’s also a fat lip, but she would gladly “trade it for a playoff victory ... any time.”

 

MULLEN 3, PALMER RIDGE 1

Palmer Ridge  1   0 – 1

Mullen        1   2   -- 3

Mullen goals (assists) – Trujillo (Sanchez) Wanna (Brehm); Wanna (Trujillo).

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

 

In three of the past four girls soccer seasons, Mullen couldn’t get past 10 victories.

At 10-5 entering the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs, the Mustangs have another opportunity to do it. They will host Monument’s Palmer Ridge on Wednesday in the preliminary round.

Seeded No. 8 in the field of 32, Mullen pronounced itself ready for the postseason prior to Tuesday’s practice and coach Matthew Guglielmo seemed at ease with his team’s placing in the bracket against perhaps an under-seeded foe.

“I think (our) number’s there, according to the RPI, and I agree with it,” he said, “but who we’re playing is by no means a No. 25. Palmer Ridge is probably a No. 12, (coach) Nick (Odil) is a great coach. We think it will be a very tight game.”

Senior Madi Johnson, a defensive-midfielder, concurred.  “I think we’re very confident, but we have to take it game-by-game,” she said. “Nothing is given to us.”

This is the time of year in which playing in the 5A-dominated Centennial League and all that comes with it can begin to matter, and the Mustangs are expecting experience against good competition to be a windfall.  “We don’t talk about it a lot during the season, but everyone knows playing those 5As is a little harder,” Guglielmo said. “Once in a while it will creep into the conversation.”

 

Molly Ballinger, a senior center-back, said “I think it helps us get ready for the playoffs, but I still think the competition in 4A is big.”  So does Guglielmo.  “If I start naming teams, I’ll omit somebody, of course, but I will tell you there are 10-to-11 (top) teams,” he said. “Valor’s excellent, D’Evelyn is good, Wheat Ridge is up there, Windsor is super, Ponderosa is up there … and Cheyenne Mountain is still good despite some injuries.”

And in addition to playing in the Centennial, the coach said, “there are just a lot of good 4A teams. And we’ve had a lot of hard games.”  Palmer Ridge is 7-8. Wednesday’s winner will take on the Canon City-Durango survivor in the Round of 16 on Saturday. winner on Saturday. The upper-left quadrant also contains the top seed, Valor Christian, which will face No. 32 Conifer, along with No. 16 Glenwood Springs and No. 17 Pueblo Centennial.  Johnson, who will attend Mercer, said “we’re upbeat and our anticipation is high.”  Bound for South Dakota State, Ballinger said she recalls the opening of the season, when “I think we started off pretty slow, but we’ve learned how to fight really hard with our team and our tougher components. I think we’re ready for the playoffs.”


The 4A quarterfinals are May 17, semifinals May 20 and championship May 24.

 

 

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