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8-2 Mustangs fall 2-0, playoffs remain questionable

By Neil H. Devlin, Mullen Sports Information Director
Grandview beats Mullen in the Class 5A Centennial League tournament finale; despite finishing 8-2 and 2nd in its loop, team's 4A playoff chances very much up in the air; bracket to be released Tuesday. 
 
AURORA – It may have been more than a 2-0 loss ... a lot more.

Indeed, Mullen’s 2-0 setback to Grandview on Saturday in the title game of the Centennial League tournament in the new Season C stung quite a bit. It was the Class 4A Mustangs’ second consecutive shutout loss to the 5A and usually good Wolves, and showing well against them didn’t change the outcome.

However, also consider the following: It ended Mullen’s regular season; the Mustangs are a strong 8-2; and – get this -- they may not make the playoffs in this shortened season during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

And that’s what really makes it excruciating.

Asked where his team stood in the playoff chase, Mustangs head coach Matthew Guglielmo said “it’s really hard to figure. Of the three ways they rank us, MaxPreps had us 11th, which is a third (of the formula); the coaches ranked us seventh; and the last time I looked at the RPI we were ninth.

"It’s us and Skyview fighting for one spot, essentially.”

Most 4A leagues will have their champion and runner-up automatically advance to the shortened 16-team postseason bracket, leaving just one at-large bid. Guglielmo said he talked to the state official who oversees the sport, “but he didn’t do anything for us” as he said Mullen plays in the Centennial, a 5A league.

And it’s ironic -- the Mustangs finished second in their league, beat eight 5A teams and lost twice to another big school that will command a top postseason seed. Plus, with the Centennial only permitting league games across the board during the pandemic, Mullen may end up penalized for playing a stronger schedule.

Skyview (7-0) faces Aurora Central (7-0) on Monday, 5:30 p.m., as the regular season, originally scheduled to end Saturday, was extended to Monday after the recent storm. The playoff bracket will be announced on Tuesday.

“So we have to wait and see what happens, what the coaches will do and see how it plays out,” Guglielmo said as he attempted to console some of his players.

He said he remains hopeful his team will be in the bracket.

As for the match, Mullen, which earlier lost to the Wolves (9-1) 3-0 at home, controlled more of the play, but Grandview’s defense around its goal was sound.

The Wolves got on the board in the 69th minute off a free kick and scramble in front of the Mustangs’ goal. Mullen also couldn’t stop a second goal in the 78th minute when it was changing a formation and the Wolves cleaned it up out front after upping its pressure.

Guglielmo acknowledged the foul that led to the free kick, the misread of a shot and his team switching things around, “but that being said, if you don’t score goals, you don’t win … (the Wolves) played really good defense and we just couldn’t find a way.”

MULLEN 2, GRANDVIEW 0

Mullen  0   0  --  0

Grandview  0   2  --  2

 
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