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11.11.17

With a sweep of Roosevelt, Mullen finishes at 15-12

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

There really wasn’t that much urgency, not that much at stake and there was going to be nothing afterward but down time.

So Mullen called it a volleyball season on Saturday morning at the Denver Coliseum, sweeping Roosevelt 25-18, 25-21, 25-21 to cap its Class 4A pool play and top a 15-12 campaign. The Mustangs can now look back at a 12-11 regular season, including a 3-4 mark in the 5A-based Centennial League; a gratifying sweep in regionals that was highlighted by knocking off host Evergreen while entering as a No. 28 seed; a 1-1 effort at state (the loss was to top-seeded and nationally ranked Lewis-Palmer); and lots of anticipation after turning around a program that needed it under first-year coach Jeff Oliver.

The coach acknowledged that his team’s final match didn’t have much in the balance – Lewis-Palmer had already won the pool to advance to the semifinals –“but I think we just matched up better against these (4A) teams. And it’s always great to play at state and get a win. That’s awesome.”

In ending Roosevelt’s season at 17-10, Mullen had regular exchanges with the No. 8-seeded Roughriders, got everyone in the games and made just enough plays to go out on a high note. The Mustangs never panicked, modified urgency with a calm determination, and left a crowded Coliseum floor with smiles on their faces.

“It was fun and I’m glad we won our last (match),” said outside hitter Kendall Malone, one of five Mustangs seniors. “We were just having fun for our last match and we played a lot better than I think we thought it was going to be.”

Playing well against the Cherry Creek-dominated league certainly helped Mullen develop, Malone said, “because we got used to playing faster teams and better blockers.”

Citing the play of Malone, Morgan Wills, Sophie Post and Shannon Stone – “Everybody, really,” Oliver said -- and with his team advancing the farthest into a state tournament of any of Mullen’s fall entries, the coach said he’s “absolutely looking forward to next year. Playing here will make it easier for next year.”

11.10.17

Mustangs fall to national volleyball power Lewis-Palmer

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Mullen ran into the resident truth in Class 4A volleyball and there were consequences.

The Mustangs were swept by the powerful Rangers on Friday in pool play at the Denver Coliseum, losing 14-25, 12-25, 20-25. And it’s nothing new – Lewis-Palmer is the two-time defending 4A champion, has now won 55 matches in succession, been in the past five championship matches and lost only five games all season.

Those cold facts aside, the Mustangs (14-12) were seeking more on Friday. Indeed, they all agreed that the Rangers of Monument are good; but were anticipating a better showing.

“They’re just quick, they have a lot of Division I athletes,” Mustangs senior Shannon Stone said.

Mullen head coach Jeff Oliver, who has overseen a program turn-around this season, couldn’t argue.

“That was rough and they’re hard to stop,” he said of the Rangers and he added: “they’re picked to win state, the top team in the state … I just wish we competed better.”

Stone pointed to some nerve issues, the fact that this was the first state-tournament experience for team members “and we were scared to mess up.”

But the one thing both Stone and her coach agreed on was the pace of play forced by Lewis-Palmer.  It was a gear new to the Mustangs.

“The speed of the game hurt us the most,” Stone.

There were several examples. Lewis-Palmer went on point binges in all three games, particularly when the Mustangs were hanging around early.

In Game 1, Mullen led 7-3 before the Rangers, mostly juniors and led by the likes of Kessandra Krutsinger and McKenna Sciacca, ran off the next seven points and 17 of the next 22.  

In Game 2 and at 3-3, the Rangers won 17 of the next 24.

And in Game 3, Mullen led 4-0 and 5-1, and were attempting to gain a measure of satisfaction in becoming just the sixth school in 26 matches to win a game against a team that’s ranked 10th nationally by USA Today and fifth by MaxPreps. However, the Rangers snagged 19 of the next 23 points.

Yes, there is a pattern here.

“The hard thing to adjust to was their speed, they played faster than anyone we played all season,” Oliver said. “We made some really good plays, but it’s just hard to lose. They all wanted to win.”

Stone, Kendall Malone, Morgan Wills, Liz Zapien and others tried to pull off what would have been the top upset of the tournament in years, but the Rangers have the records and results they do for reasons.

Lewis-Palmer was to play Roosevelt later in the day. A victory for advancement to cross-bracket pool play (semifinals) would render Saturday early matches inconsequential, but Mullen’s meeting in pool play against Roosevelt on Saturday has purpose either way. The Mustangs have secured their first above-.500 mark in three seasons and a strong finish would be a fitting cap.

“If we get second in the pool, we could maybe argue we finished tied for fifth,” Oliver said.

11.06.17

Seeded 12th, Mullen opens state volleyball vs. 4A power

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

His team is playing well and he knew this matchup was coming, so Mullen head coach Jeff Oliver figured he could kid around and be sarcastic.

The Mustangs will open Colorado’s Class 4A volleyball tournament on Friday at the Denver Coliseum against the reigning power, Lewis-Palmer. All the Rangers have done is won the past two titles, three of the past four and are going for their sixth consecutive title match. They also have won 54 consecutive matches.

“I was afraid of that,” Oliver said on Monday, when the pools and pairings were released. “We’re the lowest-seeded team.”

The Rangers also are 25-0 and have only lost five games this season, three during the regular season.

“They have lost a few sets this year,” Oliver said with a wink. “No matches, but they have lost a few sets ... anybody but them.”

Seriously, Oliver added, “oh, well, it’s not the best matchup, but that’s the way it goes. If you’re going to win at state, you have to beat the No. 1 seed, so here we are.”

The Mustangs, who will enter state play at 14-11, have won six matches in a row and six of seven. They were only 3-4 in the 5A-based Centennial League and struggled to stay above .500, but got hot late and eliminated the Nos. 9 (Evergreen) and 16 Thompson Valley seeds in regionals. They also finished third in the season-ending Palmer Ridge Tournament.

Kendall Malone (264) and Morgan Wills (172) lead the team in kills. Stone is tops in ball-handling (610). And Liz Zapien is first in service aces (34) and digs (154). But virtually every Mustang on the roster contributes in some form, a fact not lost on Oliver.

“Oh, it has been awesome,” he said. “It’s good to have that sort of depth.”

Plus, Mullen, he said, has grown mentally throughout 2017 in terms of accepting the good with the bad.

“I think a really big thing is we’ve done a much better job on focusing on that one point,” Oliver said. ”We might get blown away by 10 straight points and lose the game, but we come back to focus on the next point or game. The girls have done a really good job of that.”

Mullen is in Pool I, also with (9) Roosevelt. The Mustangs’ match against Lewis-Palmer will be second on Friday and probably won’t start until after 9:30 a.m. Mullen also will play the second match on Saturday, against Roosevelt. There will be eight pool-play matches on Friday, four on Saturday, followed by th semifinals, the title game at 7 p.m.

Below are seeds, pools and the match schedule:

POOLS and SEEDS

Pool I – (1) Lewis-Palmer; (8) Roosevelt; (12) Mullen

Pool II – (2) Valor Christian; (7) Pueblo West; (11) Cheyenne Mountain

Pool III – (3) Holy Family; (6) D’Evelyn; (10) Ponderosa

Pool IV – (4) Niwot; (5) Palmer Ridge; (9) Discovery Canyon

SCHEDULE

At the Denver Coliseum

FRIDAY
Note: First match begins at 8 a.m.

Discovery Canyon vs. Niwot

MULLEN vs. Lewis-Palmer

Cheyenne Mountain vs. Valor Christian

Ponderosa vs. Holy Family

Palmer Ridge vs. Niwot

Roosevelt vs. Lewis-Palmer

Pueblo West vs. Valor Christian

D’Evelyn vs. Holy Family

SATURDAY
Note: First match begins at 8 a.m.

Discovery Canyon vs. Palmer Ridge

MULLEN vs. Roosevelt

Cheyenne Mountain vs. Pueblo West

Ponderosa vs. D’Evelyn

SEMIFINALS: After pool play, Pool I vs. Pool IV; Pool II vs. Pool III

CHAMPIONSHIP: 7 p.m.

11.04.17

At No. 28, Mullen not alone in lower 4A seeds

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Most of the top favorites in Class 4A volleyball advanced through Saturday’s regionals.

In fact, the top six seeds and seven of the 12 will be in the Colorado tournament Friday-Saturday at the Denver Coliseum.

However, Mullen’s surprising takedown of favored Evergreen and a defeat of Thompson Valley weren;t alone in terms of upsets.

The Mustangs (28) will be the lowest seed in the 4A field and be joined by Roosevelt (17), Discovery Canyon (18), Ponderosa (25) and Cheyenne Mountain (26).

The seeds and pools for state will be released on Monday.

Below are the regional winners with seeds:

Region 1: Lewis-Palmer (1)

Region 2: Valor Christian (2)

Region 3: Holy Family (3)

Region 4: Niwot (4)

Region 5: Palmer Ridge (5)

Region 6: D’Evelyn (6)

Region 7: Discovery Canyon (18)

Region 8: Roosevelt (17)

Region 9: Mullen (28)

Region 10: Pueblo West (10)

Region 11: Cheyenne Mountain (26)

Region 12: Ponderosa (25)

11.04.17

Surprise! 28th-seeded Mullen advances to 4A state field

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

EVERGREEN – Here’s yet another example of why sports seasons are considered as journeys. And if you wonder why they go ahead and play the games after seedings and rankings and such, keep reading.

Consider Mullen volleyball … the Mustangs were coming off consecutive losing years, were up-and-down like an elevator throughout much of the season, looked good at times, look bad at others and got thumped regularly by the high-end, Class 5A powers of the well-known Centennial League.

They were seeded 28th of 36 teams that qualified for 4A regionals and paired with No. 9 Evergreen, which arguably has as considerable of a volleyball history as any in-state program as well as the very talented Claudia Dillon, a Missouri commit, and No. 16 Thompson Valley, Eagles who toil in the always elite Northern League.

So what happened on Saturday? Mullen got off to an early lead and never buckled before going the distance to take out Evergreen, then swept Thompson Valley. Indeed, the Mustangs’ 25-21, 22-25, 15-25, 25-17, 15-13 decision of the host Cougars was epic; their 25-17, 25-20, 24-19 victory over the Eagles was quick, but just as thrilling at Lo Hunter Gymnasium.

More numbers -- Mullen improved to 14-12 on the season, got it done at a gorgeous surrounding with an altitude of 7,220 feet, received contributions from every player who saw action and is one of 12 teams that will open Colorado championship play on Friday at the historic Denver Coliseum.

Head coach Jeff Oliver couldn’t have been much happier.

“Oh, it was awesome,” he said. “The girls really came together late in the season and they really clicked.”

It has been an effort balanced at both ends of the emotional spectrum.

“I knew we could do it, but I am shocked,” senior Shannon Stone said. “It’s great.”

Said junior Liz Zapien: “It was really hard, a long road to state, but it was worth it. To be honest, I didn’t think (we could advance), but once I saw the effort and what we could do, I knew we could.”

Stone, Zapien, Emma Bourgain, Becky Brazelton, Morgan Wills, Sophie Post, Kendall Malone and Molly Zink took most of the turns to help the Mustangs advance. They also knew where Dillon was at all times in the first match and it was obvious – if she was in the back row, Mullen faired well; if she was up front, her teammates found her for rocket kills and decisive blocks.

“We just took advantage of when Claudia was in the back row,” Stone said. “She’s so good and she was our main problem there. Everyone just worked super hard.”

Down 2-1 and facing elimination in the fourth game of the opening match, Mullen grabbed command on key plays by Stone and Wills. The Mustangs trailed 4-2, then went off -- they quickly made it 12-6, then 20-10. And when the Cougars (15-8) closed to within 21-14, Mullen won four of the next seven points.

Back and forth they went in the deciding game with Mullen taking the lead for good at 9-8. Ultimately, a bad serve by the Cougars ended it.

As for the match against Thompson Valley, it was about Mullen binges. In the opener, the Mustangs led 13-12 and scored eight straight points. In Game 2, Mullen scored six of eight points to take a commanding 15-9 edge. And in Game 3, Thompson Valley led 19-18, but the Mustangs ran the table, winning the final seven points.

“We’re not stunned, but I think some of the other teams are stunned,” Wills said. “We came in as the lowest seed. But I think we knew we could do this.”

The state seeding will be released on Monday. And Mullen will be in it.

“It was awesome and I felt good coming in today,” Oliver said.

10.30.17

Seeded 28th, Mustangs headed to Evergreen for regionals

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

The excitement of qualifying for the postseason is real and so is the history concerning Mullen’s destination.

Seeded No. 28 in the Class 4A regionals, the Mustangs, who won just 13 matches combined over the past two seasons, are headed to Evergreen, where early entries for females into the National High School Record Book were regular occurrences a quarter-century ago.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s awesome,” head coach Jeff Oliver said. “I wish we were a little higher, but I think we’re still in a good spot.”

Now 12-11, Mullen is grouped in Region 9 with the host Cougars (15-7) of Jefferson County and seeded No. 9, and No. 16 Thompson Valley (12-11) of Loveland. All matches are Saturday.

Schedule: Mullen vs. Evergreen, 10 a.m.; Thompson Valley vs. Mullen, 11:30 a.m.; Thompson Valley vs. Evergreen, 1 p.m.

The winner will advance from the region to join the state field that will play Nov. 10-11 at the Denver Coliseum.

Oliver said he hasn’t seen either team play, “I’ve just been watching what they’ve been doing (through wins and losses) ... but it should be tough. I know both teams are really good.”

Evergreen finished in third place in the 4A Jeffco League and Thompson Valley tied for third in the 4A Northern.

All 12 sites will follow a three-team pool-play format as in Team 1 vs. Team 3, Team 2 vs. team 3, Team 1 vs. Team 2.

Plus, the Mustangs are headed to where the Cougars used to own the game, not only here but nationally. The great Lo Hunter coached them from 1972-95 and rang up a 503-83 career mark; her 1984 team never lost a game; and they won 182 consecutive matches and nine state titles.

“Yeah, they had quite the run there,” Oliver said.

Concerning his team, it’s a smaller turn-around for his Mustangs, and it has a chance to be even better.

“Absolutely,” Oliver said. “It’s awesome, the girls are really pumped and we should be ready to go.”

Below are region sites and seeds, top seeds host:

Region 1: Lewis-Palmer (1); Berthoud (24); Battle Mountain (36)

Region 2: Valor Christian (2); Mountain View (23); George Washington (35)

Region 3: Holy Family (3); Air Academy (22); Elizabeth (34)

Region 4: Niwot (4); Eagle Valley (21); Canon  City (33)

Region 5: Palmer Ridge (5); Erie (20); Widefield (32)

Region 6: D’Evelyn (6); Fort Morgan (19); The Classical Academy (31)

Region 7: Windsor (7); Discovery Canyon (18); Greeley Central (30)

Region 8: Longmont (8); Roosevelt (17); Vista PEAK (29)

Region 9: Evergreen (9); Thompson Valley 16); Mullen (28)

Region 10: Pueblo West (10); Palisade (15); Montrose (27)

Region 11: Thomas Jefferson (11); Glenwood Springs (14); Cheyenne Mountain (26)

Region 12: Durango (12); Pueblo County (13); Ponderosa (25)

10.28.17

Mustangs take 3rd in tourney, seeking 4A playoff berth

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

MONUMENT – The resurgence of Mullen’s volleyball team continues.

With a sharp, third-place showing among 12 teams on Saturday in the Palmer Ridge Tournament, the Mustangs also climbed above .500 and probably sealed their spot in next weekend’s Class 4A regionals. They were 3-1 for the day and figure to be inside the team cutoff mark of 36 in the RPI-qualifying race to advance to the postseason.

The Mustangs will find out on Monday, but it should be academic.

At 34th entering the week, “of the teams we played today,” Mustangs first-year head coach Jeff Oliver said, “Montrose was 15th and we beat (the Indians), and Air Academy was 24th and we beat (the Kadets), so we should be in.”

Mullen, now 12-11, opened by beating Montrose 25-17, 25-20, then Air Academy 27-25, 25-13. A two-set setback to host Palmer Ridge by 26-28, 18-25 followed, but the Mustangs responded with a comeback 20-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-21 victory over Ralston Valley at the Bears’ Cave.

It may have been indicative of how Mullen has grown – it got down early, flirted with blowing a second-game lead, then won going away.

In citing the play of Shannon Stone and Kendall Malone, Oliver said “we switched a few things, changed around our defense and we’re just playing better.”

With combined efforts from the likes of Stone, Malone, Sophie Post, Becky Brazelton, Morgan Wills, Liz Zapien and Molly Zink, Mullen actually closed to within 20-21 of the opening game, but the Mustangs scored the final four points.

In Game 2, Mullen took command 18-9, only to have Ralston Valley rally to get within 21-20. However, Mullen didn’t blink before winning, then won Game 3 easily. Ralston Valley, which is 5A in Jefferson County, flirted down the stretch of Game 4 to force a deciding round – there were constant, back-and-forth exchanges from 4-4 to 22-20 – before succumbing.

Mullen was 7-16 the past season, 6-16 in 2015, so pardon this year’s players for standing on the brink of excitement.

“It went really well,” Post, a sophomore, said of Saturday’s effort. “I think it’s partially the coaching staff and that every girl on the team really wants to win. We all just fight for it.”

Malone concurred: “I think it’s really cool. I don’t think a lot of people thought we would be as good as we are. I think we just wanted to win and we’re playing as a team.”

She also said playing in the 5A-dominated Centennial League doesn’t hurt. And now’s the time for the experience to appear.

“I think it helped a lot because we were playing a lot of the top 5A teams,” Malone said. “I think we’ve learned from the competition. And I think we can trust each other and help each other while we’re down.”

10.24.17

Mullen volleyballers headed to Palmer Ridge Tournament

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Next up for Mullen volleyball – the Mustangs will participate in the Palmer Ridge Invitational in Monument on Saturday.

They will join 11 other Class 4A teams in one of the invitationals across the classification that have taken over in favor of district rounds the past few seasons. The play will factor into the RPI system that will ranks slightly more than half of the 68 4A teams into next week’s regional rounds. Heading into the Palmer Ridge tournament, Mullen, which finished the regular season at 9-10 and competed in the 5A-dominated Centennial League, was 34th. The Mustangs need to be within the top 36.

Under new coach Jeff Oliver, Mullen, which was 3-4 in league play, is coming off a decision of Aurora’s Smoky Hill. It has surpassed the victory totals of the past two seasons and is bidding to make the 4A state field for the first time since 2014, when it won 17 matches.

On Saturday, the Mustangs are seeded third in Pool A with 1. Montrose; and 2. Air Academy.

Pool B: 1. Broomfield; 2. Palmer Ridge; 3. Pueblo South.   

Pool C: 1. Silver Creek; 2. Doherty; 3. Ralston Valley.

Pool D: 1. Coronado; 2. Discovery Canyon; 3. Bayfield.

Matches will begin at 8:30 a.m. After pool-play matches, teams will be seeded into three separate four-team brackets. Final rounds will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Next week’s regionals will have 12 groups of three teams. Only regional champions will advance to the state championships at the Denver Coliseum from Nov. 10-11.

10.19.17

Mullen volleyball ends regular season at 9-10

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Behind a 3-1 decision of Smoky Hill in Aurora on Thursday night, Mullen completed its regular season.

The Mustangs beat the Buffaloes 25-14, 23-25, 25-20, 25-18 in their final match in the Centennial Challenge. It put them at 9-10 as they already have superseded last season’s seven victories.

Junior Morgan Wills had 10 of Mullen’s 38 kills. Kendall Malone and Liz Zapien each had two service aces and Shannon Stone contributed 14 digs and 33 assists.

Smoky Hill is 5-14.

Next up for Mullen is heading to next week’s Palmer Ridge tournament, beginning of the Class 4A postseason.

10.17.17

Mullen edged by Eaglecrest in Centennial Challenge

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It was tight, close and worth watching … and heart-breaking.

Mullen volleyball fell at home to Eaglecrest on Tuesday night at Hutchison Field House, a 3-2 setback that was as back-and-forth as the scores suggest. The Raptors won 17-25, 25-9, 25-23, 17-25, 15-11 in the second of the matches in the Centennial Challenge.

Class 4A Mullen slipped to 8-10 on the season. It had handled 5A Eaglecrest, now 12-6, 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-15) in regular league play on Oct. 5.

Kendall Malone had 15 kills to lead the Mustangs. Morgan Wills had seven and Becky Brazelton added six. Liz Zapien recorded six aces and Shannon Stone compiled 30 assists.

The Mustangs will be at Smoky Hill in Aurora on Thursday, 6:45 p.m., to wrap up the Centennial Challenge portion of their schedule and cap their regular season at 19 matches. They will follow by heading into the Palmer Ridge Tournament to qualify for the 4A playoffs.

10.14.17

‘Stangs drop Centennial Challenge opener; two more to go

Heading into the stretch of the regular season, Mullen dropped its first matchup in the Centennial League Challenge, but is due two more.

On Thursday, the Mustangs were swept Cherry Creek in Greenwood Village 25-16, 25-18, 25-16.

The Bruins won the regular season with a 7-0 league mark. Cherokee Trail was runner-up at 5-2, and Eaglecrest tied with Arapahoe at 4-3. Mullen tied with Grandview at 3-4; Smoky Hill was 2-5; and Overland 0-7.

Matches in the Centennial Challenge do not count in league standings – instead of having the traditional home-and-away durin the regular season, league members opted for just one league matchup and a season-ending, three-match series based on league standings. League members wanted to stay away facing each other twice during the regular season in order to help playoff positioning.

In Thursday’s match, Cherry Creek, now 15-2 overall, maintained control throughout against the Mustangs, who dipped to 8-9. Mullen’s Kendall Malone had nine kills and Morgan Wills 5. Shannon Stone contributed 12 digs and 20 assists.

The Mustangs will host Centennial’s Eaglecrest on Tuesday (Oct.17), varsity at 6:45 p.m., then be at Smoky Hill on Thursday (Oct.19), also at 6:45 p.m.

--- Neil H. Devlin

10.10.17

Mustangs fall to Arapahoe in Centennial volleyball

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Mullen closed out its Centennial League regular season on Tuesday night.

The Mustangs lost on the road in Centennial to Arapahoe 19-25, 25-16, 13-25, 19-25 in Sitting Eagle Gymnasium. Mullen is now 8-8 overall and finished 3-4 in league.

Kendall Malone (13) and Morgan Wills (12) led the Mustangs in kills and Shannon Stone piled up 31 assists.

Next up for the Mustangs is the Centennial League Challenge, a league-designed, season-ending gathering to bring teams to the allotment of 19 regular-season matches.

Cherry Creek (7-0) won the league with Cherokee Trail (5-2) second and Eaglecrest tied with Arapahoe (4-3) for fourth.

10.7.17

Volleyball climbs above .500, earns week’s 2nd sweep 

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Significant showing for Mullen volleyball on Thursday with a couple of notable achievements under new coach Jeff Oliver ... at home at Hutchison Field House, the Mustangs swept Eaglecrest 25-18, 26-24, 1=25-15 in Centennial league play.

The victory improved Mullen’s overall mark to 8-7, which is one more than it had the past season. It was 7-16 in 2016. In addition, it evened the Mustangs’ league record at 3-3.

Kendall Malone had 16 kills, Morgan Wills had four serving aces and Shannon Stone piled up 30 assists.

The past Tuesday, the Mustangs also swept Overland 25-15, 25-9, 25-23.

On Tuesday, Oct. 10, the Mustangs will be at Arapahoe in Centennial for a 6:45 p.m. match. It will complete the league season and is to be followed by what basically is a season-ending league tournament to account for the allotted 19 regular-season matches.

9.27.17

Mullen swept by Creek, Mustangs on a 1-5 skid

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It’s not like Mullen can’t get any momentum. The Mustangs certainly have displayed some of it to date in the 2017 volleyball season.

However, the trick is to sustain it and lately the Mustangs have struggled in that key area.

It was relevant again on Wednesday night at home against always powerful Cherry Creek. The Mustangs were swept by the Greenwood Village Bruins 20-25, 15-25, 12-25 in a Centennial League match.

Now under .500 for the first time this season, Mullen is 6-7 overall, 1-3 in league.

Having dropped five of their past six matches, they have heard this song before.

“Sometimes when our focus is there, we can play with anybody,” head coach Jeff Oliver said. “And sometimes when we lose a little focus, we just fade away.”

On Tuesday, Mullen dropped the first two games to Smoky Hill, then rallied nicely to force a deciding game that ended in a two-point setback. And on Wednesday, Mullen made the Bruins (11-2, 4-0), who remain tied for the Centennial lead with Cherokee Trail – the two will play on Oct. 5 – work in the first game, before suffering a series of miscues, in every area from serving to hitting and blocking, that resulted in two one-sided games.

Plus, the Bruins are pretty good.

“Cherry Creek is in first place, the top team,” Oliver said.

Said junior Morgan Wills: “(The Bruins) are good … it’s like we make one mistake and it kind of brings our momentum down.”

Mullen, which began 5-2 and is within a victory of matching last season’s total of seven, knows its problem, but finding the answer hasn’t been easy. Oliver said his group remains determined.

“When we’re on our game, we can play with anybody,” he reiterated. “We just can’t keep our consistency. It’s just a matter of learning and learning how to win.”

Three league matches remain for the Mustangs, two on the road. They will be at Overland in Aurora on Oct. 5 and at Arapahoe in Centennial on Oct. 10. In between will be a home match against Eaglecrest on Oct. 5.

9.26.17

Mustangs drop a five-setter at home to Smoky Hill

By Eli Hernandez

For mullenhigh.com

Mullen fell to Smoky Hill 3-2 in a very close volleyball match on Tuesday night at the Mustangs’ Hutchison Field House.

The ebb and flow, and momentum swings kept it entertaining. The Mustangs had a late rally fall short. The Buffaloes prevailed by 18-25, 19-25, 25-14, 25-12, 13-15 in Centennial League play. It was the Mustangs’ fourth loss in five matches.

Now 6-6 overall and 1-2 in league, the Mustangs rallied behind Shannon Stone. In the third and fourth games, she led the Mustangs to two decisive victories with eight assists and seven kills. In the third game, she had a diving save that led to a point and in the fourth another dive produced a volley that the Aurora Buffaloes, now 4-8, 1-2, couldn’t handle.

Kendall Malone, Morgan Wills and Sophie Post also had strong efforts. Stone’s included an ace. In forcing a deciding game, the Mustangs never trailed in the fourth.

Mullen first-year head coach Jeff Oliver noted his team’s slow start was killer and the comeback proved draining.

“We had a good third and fourth set, and then we started to get it, but then faded away in that last set,” he said. “It wasn’t our best match.”

The Mustangs will be at it again on Wednesday at home against Cherry Creek, the perennial power tied for the league lead with Cherokee Trail, the 2015 state champion.

“Hopefully, we come out really ready to go (Wednesday),” Oliver said. “It’s going to be a tough match … we will find a way to beat those guys (the Bruins) and put us in a good spot.”

9.19.17

Mustangs earn league split, including rare victory over Grandview

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Centennial League volleyball opened for Mullen this week and the Mustangs earned a split against recent Class 5A state champions.

On Monday, the 4A Mustangs fell in Aurora to host Cherokee Trail, the 2015 state winner, in a tight one by 17-25, 26-24, 22-25, 25-18, 14-16.

Kendall Malone led Mullen with 12 kills. Morgan Wills added 10 and Sophie Post had six. Shannon Stone added four service aces and Post had three blocks.

And on Tuesday, the Mustangs handled visiting Grandview, the 2013-14 5A champions, 19-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-22. Better yet, it was Mullen’s first victory over the powerful Wolves since 2008.

Malone and Wills again led the Mullen kill parade with 14 and 10, respectively. Stone added seven. Stone served three aces.

Mullen stands 6-5 overall, 1-1 in league, and is within one victory of matching its 2016 total.

The Mustangs will be idle for a week, next hosting Smoky Hill on Sept. 26 in a league match.

9.14.17

Valor Christian handles host Mustangs 3-1

By Eli Hernandez

For mullenhigh.com

Mullen dropped its second consecutive match, losing three of four games to visiting Valor Christian on Thursday at home.

The Mustangs fell 18-25, 18-25, 25-21, 18-25 to the Highlands Ranch Eagles to complete their nonleague outlay.

Now 5-4 – Mullen also lost a recent 3-0 match to Thomas Jefferson – rallied in the third game behind Morgan Wills, who scored five consecutive points, Kendall Malone and Shannon Stone.

“I thought we played really well at times, we were just a little bit to on a roller coaster,” Mustangs head coach Jeff Oliver said. “ But besides that I thought there was some great volleyball. We just have to keep on fighting and competing.”

Mullen next will head into the 5A-dominated Centennial League. The Mustangs will be at Cherokee Trail in Aurora on Monday, then turn around and host Aurora’s Grandview on Tuesday.

9.5.17

Big rivalry battle ends in large volleyball victory

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

It was a struggle, but why wouldn’t that be the case?

It was Regis Jesuit vs. Mullen. Sure, it was in volleyball, but would it have really mattered any more if it were in checkers, a video game, odds and evens or drawing straws?

Probably not.

As it was, the host Mustangs finally won out, taking down the Raiders 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-9 on Tuesday night in nonleague play. Mullen improved to 5-2. 5A Regis Jesuit remained winless at 0-7, but it certainly played like a team hungry for a victory, something not lost on Mustangs head coach Jeff Oliver.

And the fact that it’s an old parochial-school rivalry certainly didn’t hurt.

“It was a bit of struggle, but we found a way to fight through and win it,” Oliver said. “It’s a big rivalry. (The Raiders) will play their best game ever against us.”

Junior Morgan Wills, who had a big night hitting and passing, concurred: “Especially against us … yeah, it will be this way.”

Ultimately, Mullen grabbed the lead in the decisive game. Wills and Kendall Malone did a lot of the leading as they did in earlier games, but Mullen also received additional contributions, notably from the likes of Shannon Stone, Liz Zapien, Becky Brazelton and Sophie Post.

“Everybody really hustled for the ball,” Wills said.

The Mustangs enjoyed leads of 6-1 and 10-3 in the final game, although the Raiders scored five of six points to climb within 14-9 and keep Mullen uncomfortable. But Post made a play in the middle to clinch it.

It was much of the same in the first four games. Mullen shot out to leads, only to have Regis Jesuit, which Oliver noted the high-end play of Brooke Vercauteren and a good core of middle blockers, fight back. The Raiders also went on runs, but Mullen had just enough to answer.

“Everybody played and stepped up,” Oliver said. “We had a lot of contributions.”

The Mustangs also were coming off a 3-1 showing in the past weekend’s Aurora Central Tournament. Fresh from a 3-0 beating by 5-0 Chatfield, 4A Mullen earned victories over Centaurus, Central (G.J.) and the host Trojans. The one setback was to 5A Pine Creek.

“We were neck-and-neck with (the Eagles of Colorado Springs),” Wills said. “We played well.”

Next up for Mullen: A Thursday meeting in nonleague down East Hampden Avenue against the Denver Prep League’s Thomas Jefferson, scheduled for 6:15 p.m. The Mustangs then will be idle for a week before taking on Valor Christian (on Sept. 14), then slipping into the vaunted Centennial League on Sept. 18. The first match will be at Aurora’s Cherokee Trail.


Volleyball  Blue match on Tuesday against Regis Jesuit

The Volleyball Blue Out match will be Tuesday, Sept. 5, at home against rival Regis Jesuit.

The varsity will begin at 6:45 p.m. Junior varsity will be at 5:30 p.m.; Freshman-Sophomore at 4:30 p.m.

Here’s an opportunity to pull for Mullen and wear blue.

The first 100 fans will get something blue to show their spirit. Plus, look for cool blue items at the snack shop.

8.30.17

Mustangs fall 3-0 to 5A Chatfield

Mullen fell to a hig-ender in volleyball on Tuesday. The Mustangs lost 3-0 to Class 5A contender Chatfield

Playing on the Chargers home floor, 4A Mullen dropped to 1-1 on the season after losing 25-14, 25-12, 25-17.

Of the Mustangs statistical leaders, Shannon Stone had 31 assists, Kendall Malone registerd 13 kills and Sophie Post had five blocks.

Mullen will next be in action on Saturday in a tournament at Aurora Central.

--- Neil H. Devlin

8.24.17

Volleyball opens with solid home victory against A-West

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

For starters, it probably couldn’t have gone any better.

Mullen’s straight-game home victory over visiting Class 5A Arvada West on Thursday night at Hutchison Fieldhouse was complete, thorough and rousing. The Mustangs won 25-13, 25-12, 25-18 and it was necessary for a program under a new coach and itching to get back to challenge the 4A elite.

“That’s a great way to start the season, it was very exciting, very fun,” Mustangs head coach Jeff Oliver said.  

Mullen only trailed twice and weathered any hints at moves by the Jefferson County Wildcats. Save for a stretch at the outset of the second game and a late move in Game 3, Mullen remained comfortably in command.

Bolstered by effective play by their outside hitters, the Mustangs also had success at the net, serving, throwing in some dinks and getting to most balls A-West was able to return.

“For the first game, I thought we came out with a lot of energy and anticipation, and we really wanted to win,” junior outside hitter Morgan Wills said. “We had a few bumps, but overall I think we kept the energy.”

Senior outside hitter Kendall Malone agreed: “I think tonight’s game was a good start and it just shows that we can play at a high level.”

Mullen grabbed an early lead in the first game and breezed. Even when the Wildcats seemed to settle in and went up 7-3 in Game 2, the Mustangs didn’t blink and scored 16 of the final 18 points.

“If you can just keep away from lulls,” Oliver said.

Mullen had one late in Game 3. A-West kept it just close enough to warrant attention, but Wills, Malone and the likes of Sarah Evans, Shannon Stone, Emma Bourgain and Becky Brazelton offered stability.

Wills said that “it was nice to have all of the fans out here. It helped to keep the energy.”

Said Malone: “We’re happy with the way we played.”

The Mustangs next will be at Chatfield on Tuesday.

 

8.23.17

Mustangs want to Get Back ... as in back to the playoffs 

By Neil H. Devlin

Mullen Sports Information Specialist

(Fifth in a series of fall previews for the Mustangs.)

Get back.

No, it’s not a reference to The Beatles’ classic tune. It’s actually what Mullen wants to do this volleyball season – play extra matches, as in returning to the postseason.

“Last year, we didn’t make the playoffs,” first-year Mustangs coach Jeff Oliver said. “We have to get back to that.”

Mullen was a dismal 7-16 a year ago and 6-16 in 2015. (It’s last winning record was 17-10 in 2014.) Oliver, a 1978 Mullen graduate, is the program’s second head coach in four seasons and said he is itching to turn it around.

“I’m pretty excited about this group,” he said.

Oliver cited 62 hopefuls who showed up for tryouts and he said he will field four teams. He called the inner core of his team “a mix” that will include seniors and juniors.

Of the 12th-graders, he pointed to setter Shannon Stone, and outside hitters Kendall Malone and Emma Bourgain. Juniors Liz Zapien (libero) and Morgan Wills (outside hitter) also are being asked to contribute regularly.

“Our league, obviously, is the challenge,” Oliver said.

He’s not kidding – the Centennial League, as in other sports, not only rules the suburbs, but also Class 5A. The loop had Doherty interrupt a three-year stranglehold on the big-school crown. Cherokee Trail won in 2015 and Grandview from 2013-14.

Mullen is in 4A and undoubtedly will appreciate the competitive edge gained by playing upper-class powers. It will go through the league once as opposed to home-and-away matches,

“It’s not the greatest league for us, but great for the experience,” Oliver said. “We just have to go through that to get to the playoffs.”

It begins Thursday (Aug. 24) for the Mustangs, when they will host Jefferson County’s Arvada West. Next will be Jeffco’s Chatfield, away, on Aug. 29, then at Aurora Central for a tournament on Sept. 2. Of additional note, there will be a home match against rival Regis Jesuit on Sept. 5 before league begins in mid-September.

The regular season will end on Oct. 28. Regional pairings will be released on Oct. 30 and will be completed Nov. 4.

As usual, the state tournament for all five classes will be held at the fabled Denver Coliseum, from Nov. 10-11.

“We’ve been working hard and we’re excited,” Oliver said.


New volleyball head coach, Jeff Oliver

Mullen High School is pleased to announce Mr. Jeff Oliver as its new head volleyball coach.

Mullen’s Athletic Director, Mr. Vince Massey states, “Mullen High School is very excited to welcome back one of its own, Mr. Jeff Oliver, as our new head volleyball coach.  He brings a wealth of experience and a passion for volleyball that will be very welcomed at Mullen.

A longtime player of both indoor and outdoor volleyball, Coach Oliver is a former Mullen student (‘78) who has coached volleyball for 15 years.  Jeff began his high school coaching at D’Evelyn High School where he worked his way up the ranks from the lower level programs to varsity head coach where his team won a 4A league championship.  Coach Oliver, also, has extensive experience coaching on the club level having worked with multiple clubs over the past 15 years and with various age groups ranging from U13 teams to U17 teams and everything in between.  Currently, Jeff is with the Colorado Volleyball Association working as the head coach with the U15 teams.

One who is eager to develop the student athletes to become better volleyball players, Jeff is equally committed to their development as responsible young ladies beyond the volleyball court.  Jeff states “I am very excited about the opportunity to be the head coach of the Mullen volleyball program, and I am looking forward to sharing my love and passion of the sport.



 

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Winter sports set to begin practice on Friday
Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Season No. 2 can open practice on Friday.

Boys and girls basketball, ice hockey, boys and girls skiing, girls swimming and diving, and wrestling are set to open winter sports. Preseason practice will last for nearly three weeks.

Winter’s regular season may begin on Nov. 29 as there once again will be overlap with the end of the fall season.

As usual, the holidays will interrupt winter play from before Christmas until after New Year’s Day.

Below are key dates and sites for each sport as related to Mullen:

Boys and girls basketball – Season begins Nov. 29. Regular season runs through Feb. 17. Playoff brackets to be released on Feb. 18. Championship March 10 at the Denver Coliseum.

Ice hockey – Season begins Nov. 29. Regular season runs through Feb. 17. Playoff bracket to be released on Feb. 18. Championship March 5.

Boys and girls skiing – Season begins Nov. 29. Regular season runs through Feb. 17. State championship May 22-23 hosted by Lake County.

Girls swimming and diving – Season begins Nov. 29. Regular season runs through Feb. 3. State championship Feb. 9-10 at Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center, Thornton.

Wrestling – Season begins Nov. 29. Regular season runs through Feb. 3. Regionals Feb. 9-10. State championship Feb. 15-17 at the Pepsi Center.

--- Neil H. Devlin 

 

Max Thenell, a special guy, honored with a special award
Saturday, November 04, 2017

Mullen honored senior Max Thenell, a popular football team member who has autism, with an award on Frifday night in the game against Northglenn.

He was presented with the Brandon Burlsworth Award, which goes to a senior player who demonstrates great team character and sportsmanship.

It is for an individual who is an outstanding teammate and expects very little in return.

The players gets recognition for hard work and contributions to the team, yet gives his all every single day.

It was presented to him by his uncle, head coach Tom Thenell, in a ceremony on the field before the game. It was Senior Night.

--- Neil H. Devlin

I

 
Northglenn at Mullen will be Broncos high school game of the week
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

In its final home game of the regular season, Mullen football will have an interesting partner of sorts for pregame festivities in Friday Night Lights.

The Denver Broncos.

The Mustangs’ game in Week 10 of 2017 against Northglenn in the Class 5A Mt. Cameron League will also be the Broncos high school game of the week. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., tailgating at Brother Bernard Kinneavy Field at de La Salle Stadium will include the Broncos Cheerleaders, Super Bowl Trophies and Children’s Hospital Colorado/Broncos giveaways. In addition, the game can be heard on iHeartRadio.

Here is a schedule:

Pictures and autographs with Broncos cheerleaders as well as Broncos alumni, 6-6:50 p.m.

Pictures with Super Bowl L Trophy, 6-7 p.m.

Children's Hospital tent giveaway before the game.

The Mustangs, 2016 league champions and state quarterfinalists, are 4-5 overall, 2-2 in league. They currently stand 13th in RPI playoff-qualifying through their considerable schedule that included games against the likes of Pomona, two-time defending 5A state champion Valor Christian, Bothell, Wash., Columbine and Fairview. Sixteen teams will be announced in the Class 5A postseason bracket on Sunday.

Northglenn is 5-4, 1-3.

 --- Neil H. Devlin

 

Parris again played on All-Academic Team in Arizona Classic in baseball
Friday, October 13, 2017

Mullen baseballer Reggie Parris recently played in the Arizona Senior Fall Classic on the All-Academic Team.

It was the second straight year Parris played in the game. He made it through his club team, Slammers Martin.

It was held at the Peoria Sports Complex in Arizona.

In the spring, Parris helped the Mustangs to a 10-10 mark in the Class 5A Centennial League. He pitched, played 1st base and in the outfield.

In 10 pitching appearances, he was 3-2 on the mound with a 3.20 earned-run average. He also was 2-for-6 batting with 4 RBIs, according to statistics posted by the Mustangs.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Like others, Mustangs on the pitch embarrassed by U.S. Soccer failure
Thursday, October 12, 2017

I laughed as much as I was disgusted a few years ago, when U.S. Soccer suddenly decreed that promising teenagers playing the high-school game were considered as completely wasting their time and the people who ran the national pitch insisted that they switch to academy play.

It was supposed to help U.S. standing among world soccer powers.

But on Tuesday night, when the good, ol’ U.S. was unceremoniously ousted from World Cup qualifying, I had pretty much the same feelings, although laughter probably had a comfortable edge.

Not only was our country in a weak qualifying group, but the U.S. fell 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago. Not some soccer juggernaut such as Brazil or Germany or Italy, but Trinidad and Tobago.

For those of you just joining us, Trinidad and Tobago.

Mullen soccer folks can spot a joke when they see one.

“Who even knows where Trinidad and Tobago is?” Mullen senior and leading scorer Andrew Seaman wondered. “A lot of kids can’t find it on the map. I had a world report on it and had never heard of it.”

ESPN led the assault on the national program, ripping everyone from the director to the players. And why not? The sport that was supposed to sweep our country for at least the past five decades hasn’t even come close. The alleged beautiful game suddenly has an ugly following ... if anything resembling a following at all.

“I don’t think that a couple of people tweeting about it or having a theory fully covers the breadth and scope of what’s wrong,” Mullen head coach Matthew Guglielmo said.

The coach laments the lack of people of color not playing the game in this country as well as the astronomical costs of entering young players into the clubs and academies, turning it into an upper-class sport versus what is considered more of a sport for the poor across the planet.

And it’s not working.

“Something’s wrong,” Guglielmo said. “We’re trying to use a European or South American model that can’t be constructed.”

Discarding high-school soccer also is a ludicrous, he added: “It will never be the end of high-school soccer, but they haven’t done their jobs.”

Said Seaman: “I don’t get it, either. Soccer is soccer, whether you’re playing a good team or a bad team, or in club.”

And not knowing what to do with top prospects or how to develop them has been an American problem for generations. It has been underlined – the rest of the world plays real soccer; what happens in the U.S. is something else entirely.

“If my kids are studs, really good and boys, I’ll just send them to Italy or France,” Guglielmo said. “It’s not happening here. We don’t have the funding for it, it’s not on (television), people don’t care …”

Seaman termed it as “an embarrassment. We have no soccer teams and for the people who watch it’s really bad. The MLS (Major League Soccer) is, like, the laughingstock of soccer.”

And while U.S. head coach Bruce Arena was on TV attempting to deflect criticism and remain resistant to massive changeover, practically everyone else screamed for wholesale, sweeping change.

That is, if they cared., a fact U.S. Soccer officials must now consider.

“Heads have to roll everywhere,” Guglielmo said.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Keep up and pay attention, or you'll fall back
Monday, October 09, 2017

The dominoes effect is under way for fall state championships.

So pay attention to the information below and try to keep up …

Beginning with Saturday’s climax of boys tennis championships, the mad dash is on for the fall postseason.

In addition to tennis, softball will have regional action on Saturday.

Keeping the train moving, on Oct. 16 the state softball pairings will be released with play from Oct. 20-21 at the Aurora Sports Park. Oct. 21 also is the day for final, regular-season play in boys soccer and volleyball, as well as 6-man football.

And on it goes … soccer pairings will be released on Sunday, Oct. 22. The field hockey title will be decided on Oct. 26. The cross country championships will be Saturday, Oct. 28 at the Norris Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs.

More? State gymnastics from Nov. 3-4 at Thornton High. Larger-class football will end its regular season on Nov. 4. Soccer championships on Nov. 11 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. And, lest we forget, winter sports will begin practice on Nov. 10. They can play for keeps on Nov. 29

The top two classes of football will decide crowns on Dec. 2 at the Broncos’ Stadium.

Busy? You bet. It’s the way of the Colorado student-athlete at this time of year.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

5 Mullen facts to know heading into state golf
Friday, September 29, 2017

Here are five facts to know about Mullen heading into Colorado’s Class 4A boys golf tournament on Monday and Tuesday:

  1. It will be contested at Raccoon Creek Golf Course in Littleton that has hosted two girls championships and one other for boys. The Mustangs got in a practice round on Friday.
  2. It will play at par-72 and about 7,000 yards. Think “Caddyshack.” “Big hitter, the Lama … l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g.”
  3. First-day Mullen tee times, all on No. 1 tee – Mario Dino, 8:30 a.m.; Thomas Hicks, 8:39; Rhett Johnson 8:48; Cole Reister, 8:57.
  4. Ground is being cleared for a new clubhouse at the course.
  5. The head professional is Pat Tait, father of Ashley Tait, a Mustang who was medalist three times in the early-to-mid-2000s. The elder Tait has been a pro for 29 years (also at The Meadows G.C.), the past 20 at Raccoon Creek.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Suddenly stating principles doesn't mask bad behavior and examples
Monday, September 25, 2017

Certainly, unless you were under a rock and missed Sunday football, you saw what happened across the NFL.

Players and others in the league refused to traditionally stand for the National Anthem. Some stayed in the locker room. Others knelt. A few displayed raised, clenched fists.

The debate rages on as to whether or not you stand with the President and his comments or if you side with the players, who also were a bit divided as to why they actually were trying to protest and if Sunday was the end of it or there would be more.

But there is zero debate about the following – even with players insisting they were concerned about making social change, they certainly did little to even hint at making a switch in their on-field antics that clearly have gotten way out of hand.

To wit (and without bothering to name names because you know who they are):

A New York Giants receiver who has been hurt and whining about his salary scored his first touchdown of the season and promptly went to all fours and pretended to defecate on the field like a K-9. Afterward, he was quoted as saying “I’m a dog.”

A Chicago defensive back had a blocked field goal fall right in between the numbers on the front of his jersey. He took off to run for what should have been an easy 71-yard touchdown, but in order to be ready to celebrate and let the crowd and world know what he did, he slowed near the 5-yard line, was caught from behind and had the ball knocked out of his hands, thereby erasing what would have been a sure score. “I thought I was in,” he said. “But, you know, obviously, I wasn’t.”

And a Denver defender, one who’s ordinarily a high-character guy, knocked down a quarterback, got up, reached out to lend a hand to help up the quarterback, then suddenly pulled back as if to say: “Psych!” He was given an unsportsmanlike penalty that helped lead to a loss.

They weren’t alone as for some reason seemingly every tackle, sack, knocked-down pass, catch, pass, rush, return, block or kick on every Sunday of every month of every season apparently needs to be “celebrated” so that players “can have fun.”

However, if the Fun Boys suddenly insist they are principled and stand together in what just recently was a more-divided NFL, and want to display a stand on something, it would be easier to take them much more seriously if their self-centered shenanigans all about I, me and mine (and their money) didn’t set such a horrid example of how to act on the field for kids, notably high-school players who frequently hang on their every action.

A bad example is a bad example and suddenly stating principles doesn't mask them.

Period.

--- Neil H. Devlin

Cherry Creek knocks off Mustangs 2-1 in Centennial softball
Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mullen dropped its second consecutive Centennial League softball game on Saturday, losing 2-1 to Cherry Creek in Greenwood Village.

The Mustangs dipped to 7-6 overall, 0-2 in league.

“We left too many runners on base and didn’t have the timely hitting,” Mustangs head coach Greg Hogan said.

The Mustangs stranded seven runners and didn’t back up the six-hit pitching of sophomore Marissa Sanchez, including making two throwing errors.

A very busy week awaits the Mustangs, four games in six days, three in league. On Monday, they will be at Cherokee Trail in Aurora; home against Smoky Hill on Tuesday; at Air Academy on Thursday; and home against Overland on Saturday.

“We’ve got to get some ‘W’s’, got to get it going,” Hogan said.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Don't blink, the first postseason event of 2017-18 is upon us
Monday, September 18, 2017

Time flies.

Don’t argue.

Believe it or not, the postseason for 2017-18 begins Tuesday (Sept. 19). Mullen’s boys golfers will be in Colorado Springs competing in regional rounds, the step before the state tournament.

I know, I almost can’t believe it, either. But the boys golf season is short, begins in August and here we are.

It could be interesting for Mullen, perhaps right away as well as long term. The Mustangs will be sending one sophomore (Cole Reister) and three freshmen (Mario Dino, Thomas Hicks and Rhett Johnson) to the Country Club of Colorado. All have enjoyed assorted moments this season and they did well as a group by keeping within range of Centennial League powers Arapahoe and Cherry Creek.

They will be playing in Class 4A Region 2 along with members from Air Academy, Arvada, Cheyenne Mountain, D’Evelyn, Elizabeth, Green Mountain, Littleton, Mitchell, Ponderosa, Pueblo County, Standley Lake, Wheat Ridge, Valor Christian, Vista Ridge and George Washington.

And they have an opportunity to send one, two, three or all four players to the 4A championship, Oct. 2-3 at Raccoon Creek G.C. In Littleton.

So, yes, it goes by quickly.

Pay attention before you miss it.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Soccer match postponed after Silver Creek bus in an accident
Saturday, September 02, 2017

Mullen’s boys soccer home match on Friday against Longmont’s Silver Creek was postponed after an accident.

The Raptors were travelling to the match and their bus was involved in an accident, according to Mullen coach Matthew Guglielmo.

However, no injuries were reported, Guglielmo said.

A makeup date has not been announced.

The match was scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.   

--- Neil H. Devlin

Mullen falls to reigning power Valor in softball
Thursday, August 31, 2017

Mullen fell to three-time defending Class 4A state champion Valor Christian on Wednesday.

The Mustangs lost the road game 4-3 to fall to 1-2 on the season.

In continuing their demanding schedule – they earlier faced 4A power D’Evelyn and emerging 5A Regis Jesuit – the Mustangs also were outhit 10-7.

Jessica Haley had two of Mullen’s hits. Marissa Sanchez, a sophomore who also took the pitching loss, Cakey McKune and Tatum Maloney each drove home runs for Mullen.

Mullen next will be in action this Thursday (Aug. 31) and into the weekend in the Erie Tournament.

--- Neil H. Devlin

Boys soccer drops first match in 2017, 5-2 to JFK
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A first-half barrage was too difficult for Mullen to overcome on Monday.

The Mustangs suffered their first loss of the season, 5-2 to the Denver Prep League’s John F. Kennedy.

Now 1-1-1, host Mullen was hit for five goals in the first half of the Class 4A nonleague match.

Freshman A.J. Gamueda and senior Michael Jimenez scored for the Mustangs. Junior Patrick Rooney added an assist.

Mullen will return to action on Friday, 4:30 p.m., at home against Longmont’s Silver Creek in another 4A nonleaguer.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Boys soccer ties 2-2 at Steamboat Springs
Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mullen hit the road into the mountains on Saturday and earned a tie.

The Mustangs drew at host Steamboat Springs, 2-2, in their second match of the season, a Class 4A nonleaguer.

Ryan Irvine and Christian Rapp scored for Mullen, which now is 1-0-1 on the season.

The Mustangs next will see action on Monday, in their home opener, 4:30 p.m., against nearby John F. Kennedy of the Denver Prep League.

Former K/P JK Scott alive and kicking at Alabama
Friday, August 25, 2017

Remember JK Scott? The tall, lean kick/punter who starred for Mullen from 2010-13?

He has been punting since his freshman season for perennial power Alabama. In his three seasons for the Crimson Tide, the 6-foot-6, 204-pound Scott has averaged 48.0, 44.2 and 47.2 yards per punt … basically at sea level.

For his career, Scott has punted 189 times for an average of 46.3.

It may get better for the former Mustang very soon – he will remain the team’s punter, coach Nick Saban said, but it’s a possibility Scott may also combine kicking off and being the Alabama man for long field-goal attempts.

Below is a link for an interesting story – including quoting Mullen head coach Tom Thenell – on what lies ahead for Scott this season.

The story, from BAMAinsider.com, suggests Scott could save the Cromson Tide’s kicking game.

https://alabama.rivals.com/news/jk-scott-could-solve-alabama-s-kicking-problems  

 

 

Boys golfers again take 3rd in Centennial League meet
Friday, August 25, 2017

Boys golfers took third as a team and fared well individually at the second Centennial League gathering of the season.

Playing on Thursday at Aurora’s Murphy Creek Golf Course, always a tough track, the Mustangs took third in the eight-team league field. They totaled 304.

They also were third in the first match of the season, at Aurora Hills G.C.

Better yet, Mullen had two players shoot 1-over par – Mario Dino and Thomas Hicks each fired 73s. They tied for third place. Cole Reister contributed 78. Rhett Johnson shot 80 and Nic Mayhan had 88.

In junior varsity, Mullen also finished third, scoring 351. Individuals -- Sean Wallace 82, Eli Marquez 84, John Wallace 89 and Jakob Beckish 96.

Next up on the schedule – another league gathering, on Wednesday at South Suburban G.C.

 

Boys soccer wins debut, 1-0 at Vista Ridge
Thursday, August 24, 2017

Mullen opened the boys soccer season on Thursday night with a 1-0 victory against Vista Ridge in Colorado Springs in nonleague.

The only score of the game came from Andrew Seaman. He was assisted by Grant Reuter.

The Mustangs next will be at Steamboat Springs on Saturday.

Wednesday roundup: Boys tennis, softball earn victories
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mullen’s boys tennis opened its season on Wednesday and earned a 5-2 victory dual-match over Air Academy at the U.S. Air Force Base above Colorado Springs.

In the debut of new coach Jacob Ohrman, the Mustangs won one of three singles spots and all four doubles placings.

At No. 2 singles, Mac Caldwell won 6-0, 6-2. In doubles, J.P. Starkey-Tanner Amman won 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 at No. 1; Ben Logan-Thomas Logan won 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2; Charley Manta-Johnny Grow won 6-1, 6-0 at No. 3; and Dominic Jablonsky-Ethan Hart won 6-4, 6-3.

At No. 1 singles, George Henry Hanzel dropped a tight one, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, and at No. 3, Dante Dino fell 6-1, 6-1.

The Mustangs will return to face the Kadets and others in the Air Academy tournament Friday-Saturday.

In softball, the Mustangs, who dropped a one-run decision to Class 4A D’Evelyn on Tuesday, came back on Wednesday and downed host Regis Jesuit 3-0. Now 1-1, Mullen plated a run in the third inning and two more in the fifth.

The Mustangs permitted only three hits. They next will be at 4A power Valor Christian on Sept. 30.

 

 

Come and support the Mustangs on Friday
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A message from the Mullen football staff:

Come out and support the Mullen Mustangs as they take on Pomona Friday, 7 p.m., at the North Area Athletic Conplex (NAAC, Hwy. 93 and 64th in Arvada).

All students who are wearing a Mullen t-shirt and have their Mullen ID get free pizza at the gate.

We will be located in the southeast corner of the stadium parking lot.  Come cheer on the 2017  MUSTANGS!!

The game will also be televised live on the NFHS network,

Boys golfers finish 11th at Cherry Creek Invitational
Monday, August 21, 2017

Mullen boys golfers finished 11th as a team in the Cherry Creek Invitational on Monday at Buffalo Run Golf Course in Commerce City.

The Mustangs totaled 236 strokes to finish 11th in a 23-team field.

There were two four-man teams for Mullen.

Mullen Blue -- Thomas Hicks 77, Eli Marquez 78, Sean Wallace 81 and Joseph Long 89.

Mullen White -- Mario Dino 78, Nic Mayhan 79, Rhett Johnson 79 and Cole Reister 82.

 

JV golfers take third place at Heather Ridge
Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Competing at Heather Ridge Golf Course in the Bishop Machebeuf Invitational, Mullen players faced a par-70. It’s a tight course built in 1972 that was private, then purchased by surrounding homeowners in 2010 and turned public.

The Mustangs posted individual scores ranging from 77 to more than 110, according to head coach Jerry Koehler.

Leading the way was Eli Marquez, who also was Mullen’s top scorer earlier in the week in varsity at The Broadlands G.C. in Broomfield. He shot 9-over-par 79 and finished third. Joseph Long was fourth with 80; Blake Good 20th with 90; and Jakob Beckish 24th at 92.

The varsity will play on Thursday at Meadow Hills G.C. in Aurora, the first Centennial League match of the season.

--- Neil H. Devlin

 

Precious few days remain for summer down time, so why panic?
Wednesday, August 09, 2017

 A-N-T-I-C-I-P-A-T-I-O-N … is making them wait.

With precious few days before the widespread start of fall practice as well as the first day of school, what’s a fall student-athlete to do?

Cram for a bunch of workouts and weight-room sessions? Go for long runs or sprints? Or nab a little – and probably much-needed – down time before the beginning of a busy stretch?

These are the thoughts that must be crossing the minds of teenagers not only here, but across the country.

Call it part of the process, including growing up.

So fret not. Preseason practice (Aug. 14) soon will be here. And so will the first day of school (if they haven’t started already).

And enjoy.

 

 


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