Familiar foe

Mullen's style of play won't surprise Montrose soccer team

The Montrose High School boys soccer team has seen its next state playoff opponent before.

Last summer at the Denver University Summer Team Soccer Camp, Mullen was among the 32 teams, most of them in Class 4A and 5A and from the Front Range. Montrose didn’t face Mullen, but watched the Mustangs play.

“We played with everybody,” Montrose coach Jim Pavlich said. “They didn’t keep score, but we kept score and either tied or lost by one (each game).”

No. 13-seed Montrose (10-5-1), coming off its 5-0 first-round win over No. 20 Pueblo West on Thursday, plays at No. 4 Mullen (8-5-3) at 11 a.m. today in the second round of the Class 4A state tournament.

Pavlich said Montrose has had 15 second-round appearances at state since 1986, including two quarterfinal berths and two semifinal berths.

But Mullen is in the way of a third quarterfinal appearance. Pavlich said he got a decent feel at the DU camp for what Mullen likes to do, assuming little has changed.

“I know they’re a possession-oriented team,” Pavlich said, “and I know they’re not going to give us a lot of space. They’ll seek to close very quickly.”

Mullen coach Matt Guglielmo said he knows nothing about Montrose, except that it is a league champion with 10 wins. “Which of course means something,” Guglielmo said. “I don’t really care who you play or where you are.”

And Guglielmo said he has little chance of finding out more about Montrose than what’s posted on MaxPreps: Keeper Tyler Cayo had nine saves and his fourth shutout of the season against Pueblo West, and Nick Hansen leads the team with 17 goals, followed by Alec Rose (10) and Saul Perez (6).

“If I called someone in (Montrose’s) league,” Guglielmo said, “they wouldn’t answer.”

Perez, a starting center-midfielder, was one of the Montrose players who was injured during the DU camp. The Indians also were without starters Vijay Singh and Hansen.

The fact Montrose competed despite their absence is encouraging to Pavlich,

“This team seems to step up when we play games that matter,” Pavlich said. “And this is a game that matters.”

Mullen took third in the Class 5A/4A Centennial Soccer League and is led by Danny Gutierrez’s 11 goals.


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