Mullen edges Glenwood 1-0 in sudden death
DENVER – Playoff games are suppose to be tough.
And Saturday’s first-round Class 4A state playoff match between 12th-seed Glenwood Springs and fifth-seed Mullen lived up to that billing.
Through 80 minutes of regulation play and 95 seconds of overtime, both teams played each other to a scoreless tie. Then one team got a break.
Unfortunately for Glenwood, it was Mullen.
Matt Mejia evaded Glenwood defender Pablo Fuentes long enough to fire a shot past Glenwood goalie Buster Bosna for a 1-0 win.
The winning play, according to Glenwood coach Bob Guska, shouldn’t have occurred.
“There was a foul just before that goal was scored,” the coach said. “A (Mullen) man kicked another man, and the referee told them to play on. It was clearly a bad mistake. They got an advantage off it, because the foul wasn’t called. And they took advantage of it.”
The goal ended Glenwood’s season, but didn’t dampen the team’s spirit.
“We played perfect soccer against this team. The boys stepped it up and played a good, clean game,” Guska said.
Mullen coach Jay McClain felt the same way about the Demons.
“I thought Glenwood played very well today,” he said. “They hustled, they played very athletic, and they were very scrappy. I give them a lot of credit.”
Both teams spent most of the first half feeling out each other until Mullen forced the action midway through the opening 40 minutes.
But, as hard as they tried, the Mustangs couldn’t penetrate Bosna or the Demon defense.
Marcus Bernier steered away a dangerous ball in the penalty area in the 22nd minute before a Mustang forward could gain control. And Bosna, who finished with eight saves, snuffed Collin Pettet’s redirected shot toward the far post a few moments later.
On the other end, Mullen was just as stingy.
The Demons couldn’t find the solution to break the Mustang defense, and going into halftime, Glenwood didn’t have a shot on goal.
The next 40-plus minutes was slightly better for Glenwood.
Derek Weller got a weak shot off on Mustang goalie Robbin Hanzlik in the 59th minute – it turned out to be the only shot on goal for the Demons in the game.
“(Mullen) has a real strong sweeper and played our forwards nice. We didn’t get as many breakaways as we would normally get,” said Guska.
The defense kept up it’s yeoman work in the second half.
Cisco Tharp and Ian Lochhead each made brilliant defensive stops against oncoming Mullen forwards in the penalty area. Meanwhile, Bosna made three sparkling saves that left the Mustangs’ shaking their heads.
He robbed Dane Karras with a diving stop toward the low near post in the 41st minute. Punched a ball over the crossbar against Mejia in the 77th minute, then turned away another shot off a rebound 30 seconds later.
Fuentes sent the game into overtime by making a sliding tackle on a charging Mejia in the left corner of the penalty area seconds before regulation ended.
Glenwood concluded the season with a 11-4-1 record. Mullen (11-2-3) faces Lewis-Palmer (13-3-1) in the quarterfinal game this week.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.