No. 2 Golden boys soccer nets state quarterfinal berth

ARVADA — Golden looked very much like a No. 2 seed in the Class 4A boys soccer tournament Tuesday night at the North Area Athletic Complex.

The back-to-back 4A Jeffco League champs cruised past No. 15 Niwot to the tune of a 3-0 victory. The win advances Golden into the state quarterfinals Saturday where the Demons host No. 26 Centaurus back at NAAC.

Niwot senior Manual Soto (3) clears the ball away from Golden junior Daniel Erger (9) during the first half Tuesday night at the NAAC. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“We got really fortunate with our seeding to give us some home games,” Golden junior Daniel Erger said after the Demons’ third straight shutout victory. “Obviously I love this pitch. I love to be at home. We feel good here.”

Centaurus scored its second straight postseason road victory Tuesday night. Centaurus edged No. 10 Discovery Canyon 2-1.

“There is a pedigree there. A few years ago they played in the state championship game,” Golden coach Larry Harding said referring to the Warriors losing to Air Academy in the 4A title game back in 2017. “We are just going to have to go back to the pitch and tighten up some things to get the boys ready for Saturday.”

Centaurus opened the postseason upsetting No. 7 Holy Family 5-0 last week before defeating another top-10 seed Tuesday night.

“Once the postseason hits seedings don’t matter,” Golden senior Sam Markovich said.

The Demons were definitely ready to play in the opening dozen minutes against Niwot. Golden finished off a pair of scoring chances in the 10th and 12th minutes to grab an early lead.

Golden senior Christian Sekavec ripped home the first goal with a low shot that zipped past Niwot freshman goalie Javier Amaya in the 10th minute.

Golden senior Ian Persky (12) works past Niwot senior Jared Osteen during the Class 4A boys soccer state playoff game Tuesday night at the NAAC. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

A direct free kick led to another Demon goal two minutes later.

Erger was fouled outside the goal box by Niwot senior Andre Worrell in the 12th minute. Senior Ian Persky took the free kick that was tipped by senior Josh Colin and then Erger was able to get a foot on the ball to flick it over the head of Amaya for an early 2-0 lead.

“Before the game I was talking about playing it one the ground and playing it low so I could get a touch on it,” Erger said. “There was a nice little flick by Josh (Colin) as well. It worked out in our favor.”

Golden (15-1-1 record) extended its lead to 3-0 in the 26th minute. Niwot was called for a handball in the goal box off a free kick from Persky. Golden senior Joaquin Garfias slammed home the penalty kick to give the Demons a commanding 3-goal lead.

Niwot had a flurry of scoring chances with about five minutes to play in the first half, but Golden senior goalie DJ Koury was up to the challenge. The Cougars (11-6) couldn’t trim into the Demons’ lead at halftime.

“We’ve been a strong defensive team all year, but we haven’t played to many complete games,” Markovich said after the Demons’ sixth shutout win of the season. “It was nice to get a clean sheet (shutout) like this. We come out with the mindset that we aren’t scared of anybody. We do whatever it takes to keep the ball out of the net.”

Tuesday’s win was a far cry from Golden’s first-round win Saturday where the Demons squeaked out a 1-0 victory against No. 31 Denver West.

“They came out tonight more focused. Especially in the first half,” Harding said. “I’m enjoying this.”

Golden is the lone 4A Jeffco League team to advance to the state quarterfinals. Standley Lake suffered a 2-0 loss to Silver Creek on Tuesday night.

“At this point it’s all about motivation and how badly you want it,” Harding said. “The hard work is paying off. They have worked really hard.”

Golden will be back at the North Area Athletic Complex to host a Class 4A boys soccer state quarterfinal game Saturday, Nov. 9. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)