No. 27 Mullen boys soccer ends Alameda's dream season

Mullen sophomore Eli Kerschen (14) celebrates his goal in the 5th minute Saturday afternoon with teammates Cole Dempsey (8) and Kyle Cooper (10) at Lakewood Memorial Field. More photos. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

LAKEWOOD — All good things must come to an end.

That was the case Saturday afternoon at Lakewood Memorial Field. Alameda International’s boys soccer team had a historical season setting a program record with 14 victories and grabbing the No. 6 seed for the Class 4A state tournament.

However, No. 27 Mullen spoiled any kind of long postseason run for the Pirates. The Mustangs (9-6-1 record) took a 2-0 victory to end the storybook season for Alameda.

Alameda senior Jared Mojica (6) looks to settle the ball to his feet during the Pirates' first-round state playoff game against Mullen. More photos. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Mullen scored a pair of goals in the opening 20 minutes to take a 2-0 lead. Sophomore Eli Kerschen put the first goal five minutes into the game.

“That was our game plan … strike early,” Kerschen said. “Once you do that you can kind of have that relief and really not worrying about scoring again. It puts the other team under pressure.”

Junior AJ Gamueda made it a 2-goal lead in the 17th minute and that was all the scoring in the first-round playoff game.

“Unfortunately, it was two mistakes that cost us the game, but it’s a learning process,” Alameda coach Cesar Alcocer said. “Everyone is young and this is my third year coaching. I’ve got a lot to learn from this game.”

Mullen is set to hit the round again to face No. 11 Denver North on Tuesday, Nov. 4. The Mustangs were the lowest seed — 27th — to advance to the second round of the tournament.

Alameda junior Jose Martinez (7) works in the corner against Mullen sophomore Cody Muir (3) on Saturday afternoon at Lakewood Memorial Field. More photos.

It’s a bit of a curse and blessing that Mullen plays in the tough 5A/4A Centennial League before the start of the 4A state tournament.

“The problem is we play some really good 5A teams and we get a bad seed for the 4A tournament, but ultimately it prepares us for the 4A state tournament,” Kerschen said of the Mustangs, who went 3-3-1 in conference play. “I think playing in the 5A league helps us.”

For Alcocer, a 2009 graduate of Alameda, guiding the Pirates (14-2) to their first postseason bid since 2015 and setting the school record for wins in a single season are just a few of the many accomplishments during the historic season.

“I’m really proud of how far they made it. All the sacrifices they made throughout the entire season. It’s just a learning process,” Alcocer said after his team broke its post-game huddle after the loss by saying, ‘family’ in unison. “I’m really blessed to be here and to be apart of this. We’ll keep working hard.”

Alameda graduates double-digit seniors, but will still have a solid core coming back that includes the Pirates’ top three leading goal scorers — Jose Martinez, Eduardo Rodriguez and Adrian Diaz — returning for their senior season.

Find a photo gallery from the game here.

Mullen freshman Ethan Lehman (11) clears the ball away from Alameda senior Alisdaid Ovalle (10) during the Class 4A boys soccer playoff game Saturday at Lakewood Memorial Field. More photos. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)