GREENWOOD VILLAGE – A dose of reality in athletics can be a good thing.
After a 3-0 start in the new, shortened Season C, a younger Mullen team got one.
On Wednesday night, the Mustangs, who had swept their first three opponents, got swept themselves by host Cherry Creek. The Bruins won handily 25-11, 25-17, 25-16 in Centennial League play at Kirby Lyle Gymnasium.
Mustangs head coach Jeff Oliver doesn’t agree with losing, but realizes it happens … just as long as his team can get something out of it in the knowledge department.
“The thing is,” Oliver said, “we graduated a lot of seniors from last year (11) and we really only have one girl who played varsity. It’s a pretty inexperienced team against a top team.
“I think we learned a lot about what they can do and what other teams do.”
And what did the Mustangs learn?
“They learned not to be afraid and that we need to keep on growing,” Oliver said. “So it was a good learning match for us.”
The Bruins, with seven seniors as well as 6-foot-8 junior Carter Booth, a member of one of the U.S. National teams the past summer, reeled off points in bunches. The Mustangs (3-1 overall and league) got handled early, giving up 11 consecutive points in the first game, but hung around in Game 2 and led for the first half of the third game. The volleys also got longer and the Mustangs’ errors and getting dominated at the net occurred less frequently.
Mullen setters Anna Oancia, a junior, and Lia Dino, a sophomore, “did a good job of trying to adjust” to the Bruins, Oliver said,
The Mustangs will enjoy another chance against Cherry Creek (2-1) later this season.
“It was a little interesting,” senior Caroline Harmon said of taking on another one of Colorado’s top teams. “It was a good learning experience for us, so now we know we can play against them and beat them … we know what to work on and we know where we need to improve.”
Mullen will resume league play on Friday, 7:15 p.m., at Cherokee Trail in Aurora. Friday’s earlier match, scheduled against Eaglecrest for 4:15 p.m., has been switched to Monday at 4:30 p.m.