Photos vs. Bishop Machebeuf

Photos by John Leyba, Mullen Sports Photographer


Mullen fizzles at Heritage, falls 11-6

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

LITTLETON – Mullen had a chance to set a tone for the rest of the season.

Instead, the tone set back the Mustangs.

A flat, mistake-filled effort unexpectedly arose on Wednesday night at Littleton Public Schools Stadium as the Mustangs blew an early lead and got handled 11-6 by host Heritage in Class 5A nonleague boys lacrosse.

Mullen dipped to 1-2 on the season.

The thing is, the Mustangs, coming off a 12-0 victory over Bishop Machebeuf back on March 23, are looking at three games per week over the next five and had a chance to turn upbeat as the Centennial League season begins in two days. And they sought momentum, at least a start at it.

However, first-year coach Matt Cawley didn’t get anything close to what he desired for his younger team, comprised mostly of sophomores and juniors.

“We had a mental breakdown, for sure, and that’s just the way it went,” he said.

The Mustangs led 3-1 after a quarter and 4-2 early in the second before their wheels came off in a series of miscues, notably missed opportunities, poor passing and stick-handling, and taking unnecessary penalties. There also were defensive lapses that left goalie Dunham Perry helpless against an Eagles attack that produced 10 goals over the final three quarters and improved to 4-3 in 2019.

Junior J.P. Starkey had two of the Mullen goals. Junior Gage Fisher, senior Bo Kulbacki, junior Tanner Amman and sophomore Brandon Hane also found the back of the net.

But six goals aren’t going to get it done, Cawley knows, and his team’s next match, is on Friday against perennial power Cherry Creek.

“We should have been able to get into a rhythm and we should have had a victory here because we play Creek,” Cawley said. “We got shelled, we got popped in the mouth and we didn’t have a response.”

But this is the way it goes with a younger team, he said, and “we’re going to face this and we have to be patient. We age as we age and we’ll get better.”



Mullen  3  1  1  1  --  6

Heritage  1  4  4  2  --  11

Mullen goals – J.P. Starkey 2, Tanner Amman, Gage Fisher, Brandon Hane, Bo Kulbacki.



Spring ’19: New coach, new outlook

Matt Cawley certainly has the enthusiasm of a first-year head coach at his alma mater.

“You know what, it has been awesome,” he said. “I can honestly say there was a little bit of doubt program-wide and what are we going to do, but we are off to the races and it’s great.”

Cawley and Mustangs boys lacrosse will be looking to the likes of Jack Berger, J.P. Starkey, Brandon Hane, Gage Gillis, Ethan Hart, Dominic Jablonsky and Willis Hanson to carry a lot of the load.

In goal, Mullen, which was a disappointing 4-11 a year ago and 3-4 in the Centennial League, has three players, Cawley said, “battling it out.”

The Mustangs are scheduled to open on Friday, March 8, against Wheat Ridge at Trailblazer Stadium, 3:30 p.m.

Potentially, Cawley said, “we’re a playoff team, but we’ll be Jekyll and Hyde, for sure.”

--- Neil H. Devlin


Boys lacrosse turn to alum

Matt Cawley, ’06, returns to take over Mustangs

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Another Mullen alumnus is returning to campus.

Matt Cawley, Class of 2006, is the new head coach of Mullen’s boys lacrosse program.

“I think it will be a good thing,” he said.

So does Mustangs athletic director Vince Massey.

“Mullen is excited to welcome Matt Cawley back home,” Massey said. “Matt had a tremendous college career. His familiarity with Centennial League lacrosse will definitely help his transition to this position. He is a true professional who is dedicated to bringing success to Mullen lacrosse. We welcome Matt back to Mullen with open arms.”

Cawley, also the son of Frank Cawley, Mullen’s admissions director and head coach of girls basketball, was a four-year participant in Mustangs lacrosse as a defenseman, three on varsity. He termed it as “a rollercoaster” with three head coaches. Still, his senior season he was part of a Mustangs group that made the quarterfinals, lost to Arapahoe in overtime, “and it was the first year that Mullen was considered to be a contender ... sort of the team that laid a lot of ground work for the program.”

An all-stater as a Mustang, Cawley went on to Fort Lewis, where he was a two-time Division II All-American as a Skyhawk.

Employed with financial services, his coaching experience includes a season with Mullen freshmen, on the youth level and a four-year stint at Smoky Hill in Aurora as defensive coordinator. The Buffaloes head coach is Gerry McCullar, another Mullen alum.

“The lacrosse coaching community is pretty small,” Cawley said, adding that his appointment “happened fast.”

He knows he has work to do with the program, which has had only one winning record over the past five seasons and was 4-11 last spring.

“Absolutely,” Cawley said, “and there’s really only one place I would have ever considered being the head coach and taking over the program.

“For better or worse, the goal right out of the shoot is to make Mullen a premier program to compete on the state-championship level every year.”

In comparing the game now to when he played as a schoolboy a dozen years ago, Cawley said “the talent I see at the high-school level is so far above and beyond from when I was there.”

Immediately, his thoughts will center on putting together a staff and coincide with his longer look into the future of Mustangs lacrosse.

“One thing I have is a vision and it’s my goal to bring the Mullen lacrosse community back to Mullen,” he said. “The successful student-athletes we had who played come back and the vision there is to be a role model for these kids. You tell them, ‘This is the way you do it, this is how you be the successful person at the end of the road. It’s the MLL (Major League lacrosse), not the NFL.’ You cherish them (the days of playing), but build yourself into a good human being.”


Loss to Kent Denver caps 4-11 season

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

The competition was great, if the results on the scoreboard weren’t.

So Mullen will take everything it can from a 4-11 boys lacrosse season.

 “It was a fun senior year,” Richie Connell said. “We got to enjoy ourselves. We had a good ride. These boys are my brothers and I love ‘em to death.”

Connell scored three goals as did Jack Berger, but they weren’t nearly enough in a 17-9 home loss at Brother Bernard Kinneavy Field at De La Salle Stadium on Saturday to Kent Denver. The loss in nonleague was Mullen’s fourth in succession. The Mustangs had an earlier four-game skid after handling Wheat Ridge in their opener.

In the Centennial League, Mullen was 3-4 and the Mustangs’ playoff foes number eight in 15 matches, the Nos. 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 13 seeds in the bracket.

“We talked about it all year,” Mustangs coach Kevin O’Brien said. “We played the toughest schedule in Colorado and we fought through it all year.”

Senior Nolan Burgett added two goals against Kent Denver. Brandon Hane and Collin O’Brien added one.

For the season, Connell (29 goals), who will be heading to play in Canada before attempting to join Georgetown; Elijah Rueth (23); and Berger (22) topped the scoring. Main goalie Billy Cui and late-season replacement Jacob Larson (Cui had a concussion) found themselves under fire a bit. Only Berger (junior) is an underclassman.

“We lose a lot of offense and some at the back end,” coach O’Brien said. “But we have a lot of good, young talent (on lower levels).”

Familiar tune – Mustangs fall to a power

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It was another match against one of the state’s high-end teams, another game that was played on yet another brutal Colorado spring evening with cold, wind and rain, and one more game in which Mullen were a bit outclassed in talent.

Throw in the facts that the rain stopped just about at the final horn, some automatic sprinklers ran while the rain came down and the surrounding track was littered with worms.

Yes, when it has rained on Mullen boys lacrosse this season, it has poured. Literally.

However, it was also another game in which the Mustangs kept up the effort despite a 13-6 loss on Wednesday night in Class 5A nonleague at Brother Bernard Kinneavy Field at De La Salle Stadium.

What else can they do?

The Mustangs dipped to 4-10 on the season and have lost five-of-six matches, but head coach Kevin O’Brien is realistic.

“The effort is always there, it has been there all season and we had a great game on Monday (an 18-13 loss to Chaparral) and we were hoping to build on some momentum,” O’Brien said. “Overall, we’ve gotten better each game all season.”

O’Brien credited the Jaguars, now 12-4, because “there are no superstars on there. They just run the system, play as a team and do what they’re told. You have to hope what we do will (be better than) what they do, but tonight, that wasn’t the case.”

True, the Jaguars, grabbed the led early, held it and built on it. Playing catch-up has proven difficult for the Mustangs and they’ve had lots of practice at it.

“That’s a good team,” Mustangs senior Richie Connell said. “We’re playing a hard schedule and we don’t back down, and that’s good for our mental awareness. We just have to keep fighting. We’re probably not going to make the playoffs, but we need to do what we can.”

Ten of the Mustangs’ 14 foes have winning records, including programs that have five of the top eight records in the class, and a sixth, Kent Denver, is the final opponent of the season, on Saturday at home, 1:30 p.m.

“It’s why we do it,” O’Brien said. “We want to play the best in the state … a couple of goals here and there, and our record looks different. Our record doesn’t reflect what we’ve done.”

Connell scored twice for the Mustangs as did Jack Berger. Nolan Burgett and Elijah Rueth added scores.


Rueth sparks 20-0 rout of Overland on Senior Night

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

For once, it wasn’t a game against some of the best Colorado has to offer.

They weren’t overmatched, weren’t outplayed or outclassed, and never trailed.

So, yes, the 20-0 victory by Mullen’s Mustangs over visiting Overland on Wednesday night at Brother Bernard Kinneavy Field at De La Salle Stadium in the Centennial League was welcomed and in more ways than one.

The Mustangs moved to 4-7 overall, 3-3 in league. What’s more, they have four games remaining. Should they run the table, head coach Kevin O’Brien said, a berth in the Class 5A state playoffs can become a reality.

Led by senior midfielder Elijah Rueth’s five goals, the Mustangs scored early and often against the Trailblazers, now 0-12, 0-6, and pretty much did whatever it wanted. Richie Connell and Nate Hart each added three goals.

“It was awesome,” said Rueth, the team’s top goal scorer with 18. “I really liked how we were working together. It was not just me. We were all working together.”

On Senior Night, O’Brien substituted freely, including in goal, and the players seemed to appreciate it.

“It was nice to give the whole team a break, give everyone their reps,” Rueth said.

Said O’Brien of Rueth: “He’s leading us in points and there’s a reason why he does, and he showed it tonight.”

The Mustangs will wrap up league play on Friday, when they will head to Legacy Stadium in Aurora to take on Grandview. There also will be home matches against Chaparral (April 30), Rock Canyon (May 2) and Kent Denver (May 5), but first thing’s first, O’Brien said.

“It was a good night, a good way to celebrate our seniors and have some fun,” the coach said. “It’s a loose game. But we have to take them one at a time and see where we’re at. We have to take care of business one game at a time.”



Overland  0  0  0  0  -- 0

Mullen   9  6  1  4  -- 20

Mullen goals – Elijah Rueth 5, Richie Connell 3, Nate Hart 3, Brandon Hane 2, Bo Kulbacki 2, Tanner Beck, Jack Berger, Nolan Burgett, Johnny Grow, Collin O’Brien, J.P. Starkey.

Arapahoe takes out Mustangs 12-5 in boys lacrosse

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

They put up another fight, but came out second best … again.

On Tuesday, always good Arapahoe rolled into a cold, wet Brother Bernard Kinneavy Field at De La Salle Stadium and left with a 12-5 victory. The Warriors are 9-3 overall, 5-1 in the Centennial League and it showed.

Ten of their goals were scored by underclassmen and they never panicked when Mullen (3-7, 2-3) made a move.

“Give Arapahoe a lot of credit,” Mustangs coach Kevin O’Brien said.

As for Mullen, which has dropped two straight matches and three of four, it was another case of playing a high-end opponent and not being able to get past it. It’s almost a recording. The Mustangs also enjoyed arguably their best stretch of the season in making it a game at halftime, then faded down the stretch.

“We did a lot of good things in the first half and again we got away from some things,” O’Brien said. “I thought our second quarter was the best quarter of lacrosse we’ve played all year.”

Arapahoe had built a 5-1 lead by scoring quickly and consistently before the Mustangs battled back to within 6-4. However, Mullen’s scoring dried up, the Warriors extended their lead and remained a game behind Cherry Creek in the Centennial.

Jack Berger and Richie Connell each scored twice for the Mustangs and Nolan Burgett added another, but that was it for the scoring. The Mustangs defense also made some plays and goalie Billy Cui stood tall more than once, although Arapahoe’s superior talent proved too difficult to handle.

“I don’t know, we’re not able to clear the ball well,” Connell said. “Our defense is playing unstoppable, playing so well there, but offensively we’re not possessing the ball for long enough to get any looks.”

Said O’Brien: “I’m proud of our guys. We fought the whole way. Sometimes we get a little too excited and try to do too much.”

Mullen gets right back into it with another home game, this one against Overland on Wednesday, April 25, 6:30 p.m.



Arapahoe  5  1  3  3  -- 12

Mullen  1  3  0  1  --  5

Mullen goals – Jack Berger 2, Richie Connell 2, Nolan Burgett.

Boys lacrosse snaps skid, tames Eaglecrest

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

And now, they can breathe freely again.

Mullen’s Mustangs snapped a four-game losing streak on Wednesday night. They hadn’t won since their opener and the streak lasted a month and a day.

So pardon them if their 16-10 victory over Eaglecrest at Brother Bernard Kinneavy Field at De La Salle Stadium in their Centennial League opener seemed particularly large.

“It was just nice to get a win out here,” Mustangs senior attack Richie Connell said. “We were all finally cllcking, just working as a unit out here.”

True. Mullen’s effort was about as thorough as it has had, piling up a season-high in goals, with stick-handling, face-offs, running down ground balls, not getting stripped from behind and defending in front of goalie Billy Ciu.

“Yeah, the last four we haven’t seen the win column,” Mullen head coach Kevin O’Brien said. “You have to keep moving forward.”

They have, at least for another night. Connell scored five goals. Freshman Brandon Hane added four. Junior Jack Berger scored three times. Sophomore J.P. Starkey had two goals and three assists as the Mustangs moved to 2-4 overall, 1-0 in league.

So, yes, the Mustangs felt they were complete.

“It felt good to just come out and score a bunch of goals,” Hane said.

The Mustangs had been outscored 51-27 and doubt had been creeping into their psyche.

“We talked about it every day,” O’Brien said. “We have 10 winnable games ahead of us if we take care of business.”

In addition, maybe the thing O’Brien liked the most about Wednesday, he said, was “every time (the Raptors, now 4-5, 1-1) came back, we answered.”

Mullen grabbed an early lead, built it into a 9-5 halftime edge and scored six times in the third quarter to seal it.

Next up: Cherry Creek, the defending state champion that has won 23 of its past 25 games, on Friday, April 13, 4 p.m., at the Stutler Bowl in Greenwood Village.

Said O’Brien: “This was the first step. Even if the ball doesn’t bounce our way … our goal is be (at least) 8-7. This was a good start.”



Eaglecrest 2  3  3  2  –  10

Mullen  5  4  6  1  –  16

Mullen goals – Richie Connell 5, Brandon Hane 4, Jack Berger 3, J.P. Starkey 2, Johnny Grow, Elijah Rueth.

Mullen assists – J.P. Starkey 3, Elijah Rueth 2, Brandon Hane, Collin O’Brien.

Mullen saves – Billy Ciu.


Mustangs drop fourth straight, fall to Heritage

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It dawned on Kevin O’Brien on Wednesday night. He’s discovering that he’s saying the same things after his team’s games.

And it’s not a good thing.

Mullen dropped its fourth consecutive game, 11-4 to Heritage at Brother Bernard Kinneavy Field at De La Salle Stadium in nonleague. After winning their opener, the Mustangs have wrapped two blowouts around a couple of tight setbacks decided by a combined three goals.

Their problems remain the same, O’Brien said.

“We had a couple of opportunities early, but it’s a lack of execution,” he said.

It is. Failure to clear the zone, getting stripped from behind, being a step slow on defense and not converting when they have the chances are keeping the Mustangs chasing as well as losing.

Mullen could have grabbed a 1-0 or 2-0 lead, O’Brien said, but not finishing in front of the cage remains a problem.

“We could have had some momentum,” he said. “But we didn’t get it.”

Instead, a patient Heritage, now 6-1, took a 2-0 lead after the first quarter and improved it to 5-2 at half. Mullen never seriously challenged.

In all, eight Eagles scored. Nathan Hart, Jack Berger, J.P. Starkey and Richie Connell found the back of the net for the Mustangs, but after their 9-5 victory over Wheat Ridge, they have now been outscored by a combined 46-18.

“It was one of those games where the ball didn’t bounce our way at all,” O’Brien said. “Two-and-3 would have been a lot better than 1-4.

“I think the players are frustrated, but at the same time we have some things to button up in practice and that goes back to me.”

Next up is the Centennial League opener against Eaglecrest on April 11. The Mustangs are in a span in which they will have played only two games over 19 days.

Mustangs’ mistakes apparent in 8-6 loss to Castle View

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

CASTLE ROCK – The effort’s there. They’re battling. And they’re making plays. Just not enough of them.

Once again, Mullen showed pretty well in boys lacrosse and against another good opponent, only to suffer another loss. The Mustangs fell on the road, 8-6 to Castle View at Douglas County Stadium, which improved to 5-0. Mullen dipped to 1-3, its third consecutive loss.

The problems this time were familiar, mostly involving turnovers and failing to clear. But add giving up late goals, as in the final seconds of quarters.

“Yeah, absolutely,” Mustangs head coach Kevin O’Brien said. “Late goals and turning the ball over ... it’s a lack of execution, it’s not where it should be. We keep fighting and it seems like we have the world against us.”

Climbing out of current holes will require continued effort and work, O’Brien said, “and we can’t turn it over.”

Mullen never led. Its best surge came late in the third quarter, when Richie Connell scored two of his three goals and Brandon Hane added one to tie it at 6.

However, as it did at the end of the second quarter, when the Mustangs climbed within 4-3, only to have Castle View make it 5-3 with only 11 seconds remaining, the SaberCats scored with 41 seconds to play in the third and again with 6 ticks left.

“Those are killer,” Mustangs senior Nathanel Hart said. “And our (poor) clears are getting us. We have to get the ball from the defensive side of the field to the offensive side. We have to be more patient. We have a young team. It’s tough some times.”

Hane had two goals and Hart’s came in the second quarter.

Mullen finished with 14 shots on goal and senior Billy Ciu turned in 13 saves. He didn’t have much of a chance on a few of the SaberCats’ goals, which included a couple of rocket shots, but it was more about the Mustangs’ penchant for mistakes. Plus, Castle View had a couple of speedy runs during transition that resulted in goals.

“But, again, it goes back to execution, not turning it over and clearing the ball better,” O’Brien said. “It’s tough, but we have to keep grinding, keep working.”

The Mustangs will host Parker’s Chaparral over spring break, Tuesday, March 27, 6:30 p.m., at Brother Bernard Kinneavy Field at De La Salle Stadium in nonleague.




Mullen 1  2  3  0  --  6

Castle View 2  3  3  0 – 8

Mullen goals – Richie Connell 3, Brandon Hane 2, Nathanael Hart.

Mullen assists – Ethan Hart, Nolan Burgett.

Mullen saves – Billy Ciu, 13.

Mullen shots on goal – 14.

Mustangs drop a close one, 8-7 to CA

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Three games and Mullen boys lacrosse has already experienced a lot of what a season has to offer.

First, the Mustangs fought through and beat usually good Wheat Ridge.

Next was a whipping of serious proportion at the hands of rival Regis Jesuit.

And what happened on Friday? Mullen went into nearby Slater Field and dropped an 8-7 decision to host Colorado Academy -- which has earned double-figure victories in eight of the past 10 seasons -- one in which it led 3-0, couldn’t hold the lead, then just missed leveling the score in the final seconds.

Now at 1-2 in nonleague, Mullen has spent a couple of months over the past seven days.

“That was anybody’s game,” head coach Kevin O’Brien said.

Indeed, it was hotly contested, it turned chippy and both sides outwardly had problems with some of the calls, but, as O’Brien said afterward, “we needed to execute and we didn’t execute. The frustrations on the game were shared by both teams.”

Mullen opened by grabbing a 3-0 lead less than 9 minutes into the game, the scores coming from Johnny Grow, Richie Connell and junior Jack Berger, who later went out with a concussion. The lead was 4-1 after the first 12 minutes.

However, it gradually turned. Mullen’s offense output slowed. Its defense sprang a few leaks. And Colorado Academy, now 3-0, fared well on face-offs and gathering loose balls, and scored on a couple of stellar shots.

CA took the lead for good on a late, 4-minute stretch to end the third quarter, grabbing a 7-6 edge. Another score midway through the fourth quarter provided a cushion, although a goal by Mullen’s Nolan Burgett with 22.1 seconds kept it interesting. Mullen actually grabbed the ensuing possession, but couldn’t finish.

Still, O’Brien liked the effort.

“We didn’t quit (after the 19-1 Regis Jesuit loss),” he said. “It’s huge for us. We have to compete and we competed with (CA) the whole way.”

Elijah Rueth had goals in the middle two quarters and Nathanael Hart scored at the end of the first.

“We have to button up some things,” O’Brien said. “But we’ll get there.”

 Mullen will be idle until March 23, when it will be at Castle View in Castle Rock, 7 p.m.



Mullen 4  1  1  1  -- 7

Colo. Acad. 1  2  4  1  -- 8

Mullen goals – Elijah Rueth 2, Jack Berger, Nolan Burgett, Richie Connell, Johnny Grow, Nathan Hart,

Mullen shots on goal – 26.

Rival Raiders paste Mustangs 19-1

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It was over quickly. It was done before sunset, the mercy rule was implemented and Mullen’s coach knew this was a very real possibility.

In what must have been one of the more-lopsided results in their considerable parochial-rival history, Regis Jesuit pasted Mullen 19-1 in nonleague boys lacrosse on Wednesday evening. In their season opener, the host Raiders practically ran the Mustangs, now 1-1, off the turf at Lou Kellogg Stadium from the opening whistle and there wasn’t much they could do about it, save for taking it.

It happens.

Plus, Mullen mistakes compounded its problems regularly.

“That was the thing and we talked about it after Saturday’s game (a victory over Wheat Ridge) leading up to this one,” Mustangs coach Kevin O’Brien said. “We had to play mistake-free lacrosse and we can’t give the Regises of the world extra possessions and turn the ball over and give them the ball back. It didn’t burn us Saturday, but it did burn us tonight. When you play a really top-level team like Regis, they’re gonna put that ball in the back of the net and that’s what happened.”

It did. Regis Jesuit erupted early in rolling to seven goals in less than 8 minutes to start the game. The Raiders, a popular choice to take this season’s championship in late May, were all over Mustangs goalie Bill Ciu, at one point scoring on five consecutive shots. They would score a goal, then gather the face-off or a loose ball off the face-off and fly in virtually uncontested for a goal.

The Raiders were better skilled, but also decidedly faster.

“They’re fast and they run their systems and they play disciplined, and if you make mistakes they make you pay,” O’Brien said.

Nathanael Hart’s goal for the Mustangs late in the second quarter interrupted Regis Jesuit’s nine-goal run. The Raiders followed with another 10 goals. In all, 11 Raiders scored a goal and they added a seven-goal third quarter. And Mullen was outshot 44-20.

“We went up against a tough team and that’s why we played them,” O’Brien said of the Raiders. “We have 13 games ahead of us.”

Next up for Mullen is a Friday roadie, 4 p.m., at Colorado Academy.



Mullen      0  1  0  0  -- 1

Regis Jesuit 8  2  7  2  -- 19

Regis Jesuit goals – Erickson 3, Kassal 3, Maly 3, J. Ringhofer 2, Rizzi 2, Babcock, D. Mata, V. Mata, Peter, N. Ringhofer, Taylor.

Mullen goal – Nathanael Hart.


Grow lifts Mustangs over Wheat Ridge 9-5

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

In the second half of a dark, cold night always relative to Colorado spring sports no matter if it’s at the beginning of the season or at its climax, Mullen started to grow … as in Johnny Grow, a senior who caught much-needed fire.

Grow rang up a four-goal game, scoring three after halftime, on Saturday night as Mullen opened its boys lacrosse season with a 9-5 decision of visiting Wheat Ridge in Class 5A nonleague at a suddenly quite cold Brother Bernard Kinneavy De La Salle Stadium.

“A great start, absolutely,” Mustangs head coach Kevin O’Brien said.

The Jefferson County Farmers rallied from a couple of deficits and it was what O’Brien anticipated.

“They pressed us and we’ve been working on handling pressure in practices,” the coach said. “That was the big thing we were struggling with in our scrimmages.”

Mullen spotted Wheat Ridge a 1-0 lead, then grabbed control. Elijah Reuth and Nolan Burgett scored to give the Mustangs a lead they never relinquished and Nate Hart made it 3-1 inside the final minute of the first quarter.

Grow scored Mullen’s next three goals, the third inside the opening minute of the final quarter. It helped overcome Wheat Ridge’s final move that got it within 6-5 with 8 minutes to play. Jack Berge and Brandon Hane wrapped scores around Grow’s final goal to seal it.

“Just trying hard to let this team do the job it’s supposed to do, just a lot of teamwork,” Grow said. “I had a lot of good scoring opportunities ... I just found the back of the net somehow.”

Said O’Brien of Grow: “That’s the best I’ve seen him play.”

In addition, when the Farmers were able to get through the Mullen defense or grab assorted advantages through transition or penalties, goalie Bill Ciu frequently turned in big saves.

“Bill, first game ever starting on varsity, did a great job early, too, he made some good saves,” O’Brien said.

The ambitious nonleague schedule for Mullen continues with a match at rival Regis Jesuit on Wednesday, then a Friday matchup at Colorado Academy. The Mustangs will be seeking carryover from Saturday.

“It was a great start and I think we’re going to feed off it and just get better and better,” Grow said.



Wheat Ridge 1 0 2 2 – 5

Mullen 3 1 1 4 – 9

Mullen goals – Johnny Grow 4, Jack Berger, Nolan Burgett, Brandon Hane, Ethan Hart, Elijah Rueth.


Spring Preview: Mustangs stickmen lined up and ready

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

The always interesting Centennial League, a group of suburban powers that usually dominates or is right there with Colorado’s big-school best, should also be worth watching in boys lacrosse.

Indeed, the eight-team outlay has enjoyed several seasons of being top-heavy, but 2018 may prove to be as competitive as it ever has been.

And count Mullen in the mix.

“I think we’ll be fighting for those 2-through-4 spots (in the standings),” Mustangs head coach Kevin O’Brien said. “It should be between us, (Cherry) Creek, Arapahoe, Grandview and (Cherokee) Trail, all five fighting for those 1-2-3-4-5 spots.”

The Mustangs were 5-10 in 2017, 4-3 in league. They were outscored by an aggregate 145-115, but their two records had ample opportunities to be turned around a bit.

“Our goal is to get into the postseason,” O’Brien said. “We’re returning a lot of pieces. We lost three one-goal games (in 2017). If we can improve and turn those around, we’ll be in good shape.”

O’Brien said his top guy is Collin O’Brien, a four-year starter at longstick middie. He’s considering attending the Air Force Academy. There’s also Elijah Rueth, midfielder and second-team all-league; Richie Connell, another second-teamer at attack; and defenders Gage Gillis and Zach Krause.

In addition, the Mustangs will have Johnny Grow, Nolan Burgett, Nate Hart and Jack Burke.

Mullen’s biggest question mark entering play will be in goal, where O’Brien said he’s excited about Haoxuan (they call him Bill) Cui, who played with the U-19 Chinese National Team.

“He’s doing some good things,” Coach O’Brien said, adding that Jacob Larson will add depth to the position.

The Mustangs will open on Saturday, March 10, at home against Wheat Ridge, 6 p.m.

O’Brien said “we’ll be playing one of the toughest schedules, against seven of the top-10 teams.” More importantly, he added, “from top to bottom, all of our levels are strong and should be very competitive. The talent we have for the lower-level guys is pretty evident, so good things will continue.”


Kormondy to be honored by Mustangs

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Brian Kormondy, shown here playing for the Denver Outlaws, soon will join Mullen High's Alumni Professional Hall of Honor. (Photo courtesy of Kormondy)

One of Mullen’s ever-developing historical clubs will soon grow by one member.

On Oct. 21, homecoming weekend, the Mustangs will make an addition to its Alumni Professional Hall of Honor – Brian Kormondy, a pro lacrosse player.

“I am so excited by it and appreciably humbled by the whole thing,” Kormondy said. “What they’re doing with the school is incredible.”

From the Class of 2010, Kormondy also played ice hockey as well as football as a freshman. An attackman, he was strong enough to attract college interest and landed in Delaware, where he starred for the Blue Hens. After an injury and redshirt year, he was switched to midfield to serve on the scout team, became a starter midway through the 2011 season and stayed that way.

And it got better. Delaware and Kormondy won the Colonial Conference in his redshirt year and fell to Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Hens were unable to match that team success, struggling against the likes of conference powers Hofstra and Towson State, but Kormondy twice was an all-Colonial player, was named team captain and played in the North-South All-Star Game.

Kormondy earned a degree in business and marketing before getting drafted by the Ohio Machine in Major League Lacrosse. Last year, he was picked up by the Denver Outlaws and won the championship. Then it was on to the Charlotte Hounds. Such is life for players getting bumped off MLL rosters.

Saying he’s now “in the free-agent mode,” Kormondy added that “we’ll see what happens at the back end of the season (the playoffs are in August).”

Having now understood “how difficult it is to stay on a roster” in the MLL, Kormondy is confident “I still have another year or two to give it a shot … I’ll do it for as long as I can physically.”

Currently working for a small real-estate planning firm in Littleton that designs and manages life-insurance portfolios, Kormondy eagerly awaits his induction, as does Sean Keefe, Mullen’s Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement.

"Brian's success isn't a surprise,” Keefe said. “He comes from an incredible family and has always been focused and goal-driven. What's refreshing is his lack of ego. Those of us who knew him when he was a student at Mullen remember Brian as a tremendous competitor who also understood that a life outside of athletics was just as important. His quality relationships and strong family bonds are an example of the latter." 

Interestingly, Kormondy will go into the hall a year after friend Erik Smith was inducted. Now, Smith and Kormondy will join Oliver “Bo” Scaife, ’99, football; Scott Wedman, ’70, basketball; Danielle Foxhoven, ’08, soccer; Ryan Hewitt, ’09, football; Clint Zavaras, ‘85 baseball; and Mark Holzemer, ’87, baseball.

Joining Kormondy in October will be Alex Smith, ’00, football, and Mike Trujillo, ’78, baseball.

Smith also played lacrosse professionally and he and Kormondy were tight.

“He and I met before my freshman year and he went to Air force and we both became captains,” Kormondy said of Smith, who played for Boston and Florida before also getting bumped off a roster. “He graduated ahead of me and my banner will be right next to his.”

And it will be there to perhaps inspire others.

“It’s such a huge honor and I’m excited to be able to have my picture up there and leave somewhat of a legacy,” Kormondy said. “And maybe some kid will say, ‘Hey, he went to Mullen. I can go play, live my dream and accomplish my goals. It’s both cool and humbling.”

A Mustang to A Pio

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Aaron Boyd has played other sports, yes. But none of them, in his opinion, measure up to lacrosse in any way, shape or form.  For him, it’s lacrosse first, last and forever.

“I think I like the speed of the game, you’ve got to be fast, play fast and play hard,” the recently graduated Mullen senior said. “It’s a whole different game than other sports. Growing up, I loved sports and always played baseball and stuff, but it was too slow. In lacrosse, you read and react. It’s at a good pace and it keeps you going.”  It also will keep him going to college. Boyd, a native Coloradan, will play at the University of Denver. The Pioneers will take on Maryland on Saturday in the national semifinals and they already have former Mustangs Nick Phillips and Mikey Pryor.

Call it a Mullen connection. Mustangs head coach Kevin O’Brien also played at DU, as did assistant coach Clark Woodard.  An offensive middie, Boyd has earned his chance, O’Brien said, through hard work.  “He’s skilled and was one of our leaders,” O’Brien said.

All three, O’Brien added, “have a reason they’re going there and it’s because of what they do day in, day out. They’re out there shooting before and after practice.”  Plus, O’Brien said, “their grades are great.”  He also coaches a seventh-grade team and those players would frequently ask who that guy was who was always the last one on the field. It was Boyd.

And Boyd had a plan.  “I first started playing in eighth grade and I always wanted to go to DU,” he said.

A starter for the Mustangs since late in his freshman year, Boyd had relatively modest numbers the past season with 26 goals and 11 assists. However, opposing teams knew what they had to do to stop the Mustangs, who ended 5-10, and that was to defend Boyd, so he frequently found himself in traffic late in late afternoon in Denver.

Plus, Mullen’s schedule was as good as any other team’s. It took on the likes of regular Colorado heavyweights Kent Denver, Regis Jesuit, Arapahoe, Cherry Creek, Columbine and a few out-of-staters.  It bodes well for Mullen moving forward. It lost only eight seniors and was junior-dominated. Plus, the caliber of play should only make the Mustangs better.

“Mullen has never won a state championship, but always been a top-level program,” O’Brien said. “This year, we were 5-10, but we were one of the only schools to play all of those top programs. When you play a tough schedule, I think that’s a draw. And it has been tough (with previous coaching changes) … we want to get back to where Mullen was in the 2000s and keep the coaching staff around.”

It helps developing players such as Boyd, who bought into the program and school, including with a 3.8 grade-point average.  And the next step? Phillips is seeing some minutes with the Pioneers and Pryor has played even less. It’s part of advancing in the game. Boyd says he’ll be patient.

“(DU team officials) told me I would never play (defense) and can look forward to offense,” Boyd said. “I’ll just do the best I can, try to get playing time my freshman year, but if not … so there could be some possibilities.  “I’m going to work hard and give my best.”


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