Wednesday's Class 3A boys soccer state semifinals certainly featured their share of fireworks and the action didn't disappoint. At the end of the evening, a recent-year regular and an underdog that just keeps pulling through in the postseason that emerged from the final four teams.
In Saturday's 3A championship match at 6 p.m. at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs, No. 1 Colorado Academy will take on No. 14 Frontier Academy.
(1) Colorado Academy 2, (4) KIPP Denver Collegiate 1
It hasn’t been all that long since its last trip, and the Colorado Academy boys soccer team is heading back to the Class 3A state championship for the first time in four seasons.
On Wednesday evening at Legacy Stadium, the top-seeded Mustangs won 2-1 over No. 4 KIPP Denver Collegiate in the state semifinals at Frederick High School. Both teams were unbeaten in Season C entering the game, and it was the Mustangs (13-0) who prevailed in order to remain undefeated and punch their ticket to the state final at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs on Saturday.
“It’s just really exciting to see the boys have an opportunity to play for a trophy,” Colorado Academy head coach Gabe Bernstein said. “So many teams in the state are working so hard in the offseason to get to that title game, and I’m proud of our guys for getting there. This is a special senior group that’s very motivated and has been working towards this point for several years now, so we’re really excited for them.”
Colorado Academy senior Grady Behrhorst put the Mustangs on the board in the first half and 10 minutes into the second half, senior captain Nick Maffei scored to give them a two-goal lead. Sophomore Francisco Morales scored for KIPP Denver Collegiate (12-1) but the White Tigers weren’t able to generate an equalizing score before time expired on what was an excellent Season C campaign.
“It was one of those games when you’re winning 1-0 and as you get deeper into the game, it gets a little hairy and a little nervy,” Bernstein said. “That second goal helped. Credit KIPP for getting one back. They’re an extremely well-coached group and they made it tough, but I think our boys weathered that well and did a good job of finishing out the game.”
On Saturday, Colorado Academy will be going for its fifth boys soccer title.
(14) Frontier Academy 2, (2) Liberty Common 1
Frontier Academy has never won a boys soccer state championship, but that could be changing soon if the Wolverines can keep up their current pace and pull off one more upset.
Seeded 14th out of 16 postseason teams in Class 3A, Frontier Academy took down No. 3 Lamar and No. 6 Manitou Springs to reach Wednesday’s semifinals at Frederick High School. Then they did it again, breaking a second-half stalemate to knock off No. 2 Liberty Common, a team they lost two twice during the regular season, with a surprising 2-1 victory.
On Saturday at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs, the Wolverines (10-4) will play in their program’s first state championship game. Fittingly in line with the favorite-laden road the Wolverines took to get there, their opponent will be No. 1-seeded Colorado Academy.
In the semifinals, Justin Kleen gave Liberty Common (11-1) the early lead just under 14 minutes into Wednesday night’s game. That lead stood until Frontier Academy’s Brock Ramirez tied the game with a penalty kick nine minutes after the midway break. In the 71st minute, Seth Sheppard scored on a penalty kick to give Frontier Academy the victory and send the Wolverines to their first state title match.
The Class 3A state championship game will begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday.