DENVER — It hasn't been the most auspicious start to the season for the Holy Family girls soccer team.

As young and they are, and considering the strength of their schedule so far, the Tigers aren't sweating their early results. They're taking a more big-picture approach to the 2017 season.

On Monday, the Tigers fell 3-1 on the road to the Mullen Mustangs. Against one of last season's Class 4A semifinalists and the current fifth-ranked team in the poll, the Tigers continued to learn more about what it takes to compete with the state's best as their young roster continues to mature.

"We weren't really controlling it as well as we could have," Tigers sophomore Nicolette Sandoval said. "We started out the game pretty strong but we lost it a little bit and our intensity went down because we lost what we had going. I feel like this team, especially because it's young, has a lot of potential. We're really working on our aggressiveness and once we get that, I'm sure we'll do a lot better."

Despite having just four seniors on the team, the Tigers (0-4) led Monday's game in the early going. Nicolette scored on a penalty shot in the fifth minute.

But as the game went on and the Mustangs (3-1) found their form, and as the Tigers struggled with the smaller field and winter-hardened grass surface, it didn't take long before the Mustangs led 2-1 at halftime. Another goal in the second half sealed the Tigers' fate.


"I think that we definitely had some opportunities," Tigers head coach Kathy Hogan said. "The conditions in Colorado right now made it a fast field. I think once we start playing to our level and face some teams that we could be more successful against, we should do well. Right now, we're playing some tough, tough opponents."

Through four games this season, the Mustangs have faced Peak to Peak (fourth in 3A), Wheat Ridge (sixth in 4A), Lewis-Palmer (second in 4A) and Mullen (fifth in 4A). They lost all four games, but they weren't shut out in any of the four.

Now with five total goals on the season, no Tigers player older than a sophomore has scored. Freshman goalkeeper Sally Neiperkowski is averaging over six saves per games.

"We're kind of in a rebuilding year and we will need to build some confidence once we get on the same page," Hogan said. "I think we had some good one-two touches but we just need to start shooting the ball more."

The Tigers will look for their first win in their home opener against St. Mary's on Tuesday.

Brad Cochi: or

Mullen 3, Holy Family 1

At Mullen H.S.

Holy Family (0-4) 1 0 — 1

Mullen (3-1) 2 1 — 3

Goals (assists) — Holy Family: Nicolette Sandoval, fifth minute.

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Holy Family: Sally Neiperkowski (80-3-10).