AURORA | A capsule look at the Class 5A boys lacrosse state playoff first round game between Mullen and Cherokee Trail scheduled for May 11, 2022:
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2022 CLASS 5A BOYS LACROSSE FIRST ROUND CAPSULE
NO. 22 MULLEN (8-7) AT NO. 11 CHEROKEE TRAIL (9-6)
May 11, 6 p.m., Legacy Stadium
BREAKDOWN: Mullen and Cherokee Trail meet in a matchup of teams that are returning the postseason after significant absences. Cherokee Trail has not appeared in the playoffs since 2012, when it lost in the second round to Regis Jesuit after topping Littleton in the first round, while Mullen makes its first postseason trip to 2016, when it lost to Arapahoe in the quarterfinals after beating Wheat Ridge in the first round.
MULLEN: Coach Matt Cawley’s Mustangs were 1-6 at one point and have since won seven of their last eight, including their last four. Mullen won the championship of the 5A League #1 and was the league’s only playoff qualifier. …The Mustangs averaged 7.8 goals per game during the regular season, but scored 10 or more in each of their final four contests. Junior Nicholas Bond leads the team in goals scored (28) and assists (12), while junior Ethan Karr is next in total points with 18 goals and eight assists. Mullen has been strong defensively, ceding just 5.4 goals per contest and allowing just three opponents to reach double figures. Senior Noah Wanja has a .586 save percentage and has played every minute for the Mustangs in the goal.
CHEROKEE TRAIL: Coach Jamie Calhoun — who has indicated he will step down after the season — guided the Cougars to a win over Mountain Range in its regular season finale, which sent them into the postseason with three victories in their final four games. Cherokee Trail finished sixth in the 5A League #4, which sent seven of its eight teams into the playoffs. …The Cherokee Trail offense averaged 12.5 goals per game and haven’t scored fewer than eight goals in game this season. The Cougars feature a trio of players with 30 or more goals, a group led by sophomore Nate Gilmore with 32, while seniors Evan Gibbs and Flint Thielen have 31 and 30, respectively. Flint Thielen leads four players with double-digit assists with 17, while Gilmore and Gibbs have 11 apiece. Senior Grant Green has scored 26 goals. Senior LSM Cayston Conover leads the team in groundballs with 63 in 12 games. Defensively, the Cougars have allowed 8.7 goals per contest. Sophomore Ryan Hubbard has spent the majority of time in the nets.
WINNER GETS: The Mullen-Cherokee Trail winner advances to the second round, where it will play No. 6 Arapahoe, which got a first round bye after a 10-5 regular season. Cherokee Trail defeated the Warriors 10-9 in overtime, while Mullen lost to them 7-3.
BRACKET: The Class 5A state playoff bracket can be found, here