AURORA | A look at the 2017 Class 5A boys soccer state semifinal contest between No. 5 Grandview and No. 1 Denver East:
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
NO. 5 GRANDVIEW (16-2) vs. NO. 1 DENVER EAST (17-1)
5 p.m., Nov. 8 at EchoPark Stadium (Parker)
BREAKDOWN: Grandview and Denver East meet on the pitch on a rare occasion, especially in the Class 5A state playoffs, as the only other meeting between them came in the first round of the 2010 postseason. The Wolves came away with a 1-0 upset win in that matchup against the Angels in the last contest between the teams.
DENVER EAST: The top-seeded Angels — the No. 2 team out the Denver Prep League — have won eight games in a row since their only loss of the season, a 2-0 decision against Kennedy on Sept. 28. Three of those wins for coach Kirk Bast’s Denver East team have come in the postseason, as it has defeated No. 32 Arvada West (2-0), No. 16 Fossil Ridge (1-1, winning on penalty kicks) and No. 8 Grand Junction (1-0) to reach the semifinals for the fourth time in the past seven seasons (2017, 2016, 2013 and its championship-winning 2011 season). In the quarterfinals against the Tigers, the Angels got a goal from speedy sophomore striker Zion Wagoner with just 2 minutes, 20 seconds, left in regulation to net the victory. Wagoner has a goal and two assists in three playoff games, senior Eli Miller, sophomore Alan Jimenez and junior Sammy Crippen have scored goals, senior Sam Carson has an assist and senior keeper Victor Yague Izquierdo has allowed just one goal. For the season, Carson leads Denver East with 20 goals, followed by Miller with 10 and junior Marko Babiak with eight. Wagoner has dished out 13 assists, Babiak has 10 and Carson six. Izquierdo has played every game in the nets for the Angels and has 11 shutouts.
GRANDVIEW: The fifth-seeded Wolves won the Centennial League championship thanks to prevailing in a tiebreaker with Arapahoe and Cherry Creek and now have won 10 straight games dating back to a 3-0 loss to the Warriors on Sept. 28. While Grandview’s semifinal opponent, Denver East, has been to the semifinals four times in the last seven seasons, coach Brian Wood’s Wolves are in 5A’s Final Four for the first time since 2007 when they lost to Smoky Hill in the state championship game. To reach the semifinals, Grandview has beaten No. 28 Fruita Monument (1-0), No. 12 Regis Jesuit (2-0) and No. 13 Fairview (1-0). The Wolves’ quarterfinal win came with senior defender AJ Watters netting the only goal of the game in the 52nd minute off a rebound that came from a corner kick opportunity. Grandview’s four postseason goals have all come from different players as senior Logan Moore and juniors Jaime Luna and Ian Oltman have also scored, while senior Josh Pyle and junior Tedj Mennana have recorded assists. The Wolves’ “No Fly Zone” defense hasn’t allowed a goal since Oct. 5 in a 2-1 overtime win over Eaglecrest, a span of 15 halves and a few minutes of overtime, and has made life relatively comfortable in the postseason for senior keeper Eddie St. Martin, who has had to make just 10 saves in three playoff contests. For the season, Grandview has had 15 different players score goals (14 have two or more) with junior Angelo Mujica (13) and junior Jaime Luna (10) leading the way. Oltman and junior defender Raymond Jackson lead the Wolves with seven assists, one more than Pyle. St. Martin has recorded 11 shutouts in the net and given up more than one goal in a game on just one occasion.
WINNER GETS: The Grandview-Denver East winner meets the winner of the other semifinal between No. 3 Fort Collins and No. 7 Broomfield, slated for 7 p.m. at EchoPark Stadium. The 5A state championship match is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Nov. 11 in Commerce City at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, home of the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer.