Soccer teams to drive around state for playoffs |

Soccer teams to drive around state for playoffs

What’s best about the boys soccer state playoffs being spread over two days is fans can attend more than one game. What’s bad is supporters will have at least one trip to the Front Range to complete the circuit.

Action begins in the Class 4A playoffs this afternoon when Rifle (8-7-0) travels to Niwot (11-3-1) for a 3:30 p.m. match at Niwot High School in Longmont.

The Bears are the No. 22 seeded team in the single-elimination 32-team tournament. Niwot, who plays in the Northern League, is the No. 11 seed.

The Cougars’ top scoring threats are Ryan Meske, who has netted 10 goals with two assists in the regular season according to Rocky Preps statistics. He is completed by Domenic Gurule, a five-goal scorer on the year.

Defensively, Niwot goalie Garrett Clark has allowed nine goals in 960 minutes and has made 68 saves.

Clark and the rest of the Cougars defenders will spend the afternoon trying to neutralize Rifle’s three-pronged offensive attack, led by senior Stuart Stapleton (13 goals, 4 assists), Hector Macias (7 goals, 2 assists) and Uriel Quezada (6 goals, 1 assist).

On Wednesday, 12-2-0 Glenwood Springs, seeded 13th, hosts No. 20 D’Evelyn (10-4-1) from the Class 4A Jeffco League. Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m. at Glenwood’s Stubler Memorial Field.

Demons senior Corey McGrath has scored 13 goals and assisted on four others this season. Another senior, Pat Shepard, has contributed five goals with 10 assists.

Both players’ figures pale against the seasonal totals of D’Evelyn forward Aaron O’Brien. Rocky Preps list O’Brien as the state’s top goal scorer in Class 4A with 23 goals.

The Jaguars’ goalie Zack Blackmon is among Colorado’s best defensively. In 11 games, Blackmon has posted a 8-3-1 win-loss record with four shutouts and 70 saves in 820 minutes of playing time.

Wednesday’s other game pits Colorado Rocky Mountain School, the No. 16 team in the Class 3A playoffs, at No. 1 Kent Denver. That game, played at the Sun Devils’ campus field in Englewood, starts at 4 p.m.

Kent Denver, 13-1-1 overall, features a top goalkeeper in Ryan Bernstein. In 15 games, Bernstein has allowed just five goals with 10 shutouts while compiling a 13-1-1 win-loss record.

Bernstein’s lone loss of the year, a 1-0 defeat by Summit, was back on Sept.10.

Admission for all first- and second-round playoff games are $5 for adults and $4 for seniors and students who show a school I.D. card. Only pass holders issued by the Colorado High School Activities Association will be honored at the gate. Ticket prices and policy for all state playoff games are set by the CHSAA.

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