Boys soccer: Titans nipped by Sun Devils in 3A quarterfinals
ENGLEWOOD — Kent Denver High School’s boys soccer team didn’t do anything Friday that the Coal Ridge Titans hadn’t seen this season. The Sun Devils, however, handed the ninth-seeded Titans something they hadn’t seem much of.
Kent Denver’s goal in the 45th minute wound up being the game winner for the top-seeded Sun Devils, who advanced to the semifinal round of the Class 3A state tournament with a 1-0 victory over Coal Ridge.
“They didn’t do anything different or anything that we hadn’t seen before,” Coal Ridge senior Enrique Bucio said. “But they did a good job of double-teaming some of us and putting pressure on us in the midfield. That made a difference.”
It made enough of a difference that it propelled the Sun Devils (17-1-0), winners of 17 consecutive games, into the state semifinals on Wednesday at All-City Stadium in Denver. They’ll play Colorado Academy, with won 1-0 on penalty kicks over Peak to Peak in another quarterfinal game Friday.
With the loss, the Titans’ season ended with a 14-4-0 overall record.
“The whole season we worked hard to get here,” said Bucio, whose team has reached the postseason seven consecutive years and the 3A quarterfinals the past three seasons. “This is really upsetting now, but we had a good run.”
Coal Ridge was able to put together some runs at the net in the second half despite that pressure from Kent Denver’s midfield. Coal Ridge coach Mike Mikalakis said the Titans’ best chance came in the 70th minute, when a shot at the net that got past the Sun Devils’ goalkeeper trickled along the ground and past the goal.
“We had about four solid chances when we were able to put the ball on frame,” the coach said.
Titans goalie Roman Plano finished with 10 saves. Coal Ridge finished with seven total shot attempts against Kent Denver.
“I’m proud to be associated with these kids,” Mikalakis said after the game. “It’s been that way each of my four years as coach. They’re all good soccer players, but the best thing is that they’re all good people.”
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