They were coming off a 0-0 tie, so Mullen’s Mustangs had score frustration.
What did they do about it?
Off an Ethan Lehman pass to Andrew DeBerardinis, the Mustangs, ranked No 3 in Class 4A, scored a goal 18 seconds into their match on Thursday, the necessary spark to a 4-1 home decision of 5A Eaglecrest in the Centennial League.
“Totally a good thing,” Mullen head coach Matt Degitis said. “We knew it was on.”
Off the opening whistle, Lehman drilled one from the side to DeBerardinis in front and he finished it quickly.
“In the first 18 seconds, that has to be a league record,” Degitis wondered. “We had a long talk before the game about the value of each minute … clearly, they came out ready.”
Senior Eli Kerschen scored two goals and Lehman had one. Jack Sargent had two assists.
“It was awesome,” Kerschen said of his team’s effort. “I think this was a good game to bounce back off the (scoreless) tie with Cherokee Trail. It was a great team win and we were here for each other today. We talked about some stuff in the locker room before the game and we executed it perfectly. It was good to see that.”
Degitis also cited the play of Alex Evans, Nolan Cooper and Bryce Sohayda as well as keeper Andrew McGrath, who two turned in stellar stops among his saves.
Mullen, 11-1-1 overall, 3-1-1 in league, will resume play on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 5 p.m., at Arapahoe in league, and finish its regular season on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 4:30 p.m., at home against Overland.
MULLEN 4, EAGLECREST 1
Mullen goals – Eli Kerschen 2, Andrew DeBerardinis, Ethan Lehman.
Mullen assists – Jack Sargent 2, Ethan Lehman, Andrew DeBerardinis.
Mullen competed on Thursday in the first round of the Class 4A Tournament held at Pueblo City Park.
Three Mustangs entrants produced two victories.
At No. 2 doubles, the Mustangs’ Nick Ruegsegger-Carlos Pena opened with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 victory in the preliminaries over Denver South’s Ty Braesch-Wyatt Schmitt. In the quarterfinals, Ruegsegger-Pena fell to George Buyers-Hudson Parks of Colorado Academy 4-6, 7-5, 1-6.
At No. 4 doubles, Mullen’s Noah Wanja-Jackson Alexander won a difficult 7-6, 7-5 match over Niwot’s Rex Wellington-Ollie Jones before losing in the quarterfinals, 4-6, 3-6 to Colorado Academy’s Davis Johnson-Charlie Rakowski.
And at No. 2 singles, Mullen’s Patty Duke lost 4-6, 0-6 to D’Evelyn’s Carter Smith.
Semifinals and playbacks will begin on Friday at 9 a.m.
Led by Jack Tolbert and Amy O’Connell, the Mustangs placed third as a team on both sides in Thursday’s Centennial League Championships held at weather-tested Arapahoe County fairgrounds.
Mullen head coach Joe Welling called it “a good day despite the wind, cold, rain, sleet and snow ... brutal conditions, but the kids performed.”
Tolbert, having a big season, finished second in 16 minutes, 55.30 seconds. He was backed by: 8. Jacon Sushinsky, 17:20.20; 18, Travis Hockin, 17:41.90; 21. Owen McCarter, 18:09.30; and 26. Mason Atwell, 18:20.30.
Mullen compiled 75 team points to Cherokee Trail’s 27 and Grandview’s 56.
For girls, O’Connell was ninth in 19:42.30. Next for the Mustangs: 12. Elisa Brear, 19:53.80; 16. Kira Van der Steen, 20:18.10; 24. Julia Brown, 21:05.90; and 26. Alicia Muller, 21:18.80.
Mullen’s 87 team points followed Cherry Creek’s 28 and Arapahoe’s 29.
The Mustangs now prepare for their Class 4A Regional to be held on Oct. 22 in Evergreen.
At Hutchison Fieldhouse, the Mustangs dropped a nail-biter on Thursday to visiting Arapahoe 25-21, 10-25, 16-25, 25-23, 11-15 in the Centennial League.
The Mustangs are 8-8 overall, 2-5 in league.