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3A boys soccer: Titans trying to be trail blazers

Jon Mitchell
jmitchell@postindependent.com

Coal Ridge High School’s boys soccer team has plenty of playoff experience under its belt. That doesn’t mean the Titans are letting all of those past playoff runs define them.

“No matter what happens in the next round, we’ve already had a great season,” Coal Ridge coach Mike Mikalakis said Thursday as his team prepared for its Class 3A quarterfinal match today at Kent Denver. “But with these guys, they’re looking to make their own run with this team, not to follow in the footsteps of the guys who came before them.”

Granted, Coal Ridge has set the proverbial bar kind of high the past two seasons after a trip to the quarterfinals last year and a trip to the 3A semifinals the year before that. So instead of looking at what they’ve done in the past, the ninth-seeded Titans ( 14-3-0) are looking ahead to playing on the FieldTurf surface of the home-standing and top-seeded Sun Devils (16-1-0).

“From what it looks like, they’re a very similar team to what we are, which could benefit us,” said the fourth-year coach of the Titans, whose team made the drive to Englewood on Thursday night. “That way, we’d know how they’d attack, we know how they’d position themselves defensively, and we’d know how to set up our defense.”

Start time will be 3 p.m. today. The winner moves into the state semifinals against either Peak to Peak (9-8-0) or Colorado Academy (13-4-0) in the state semis Nov. 5 at All-City Stadium in Denver.

Peak to Peak defeated Roaring Fork 4-3 in overtime this past Saturday to advance to the quarterfinals. Colorado Academy eliminated Coal Ridge in last year’s state tournament

Coal Ridge comes into the game with 80 goals in 17 games, which is the top mark in Class 3A and third best — behind Class 4A Air Academy (92) and 4A The Classical Academy (88) — among all classifications. Enrique Bucio and Sergio Valentin each have a team-high 17 goals scored, but Bucio’s 31 assists ranks him fourth in the nation, according to http://www.maxpreps.com.

Kent Denver is ranked second in 3A in scoring with 75 goals in 17 games. Of the 20 players who have played for Kent Denver’s varsity this year, 17 have found the net. Sophomore Max Gottesfeld and senior Greer Solarte have each scored 12 goals to pace the Sun Devils, who have outscored their opponents 75-7 this season.

“We’re going to have to play a full 80 minutes against them if we want to be successful [today],” Mikalakis said.


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