BOULDER — It was a mere 11 days ago that Boulder won the Front Range League title at Fairview's expense — a 4-0 lopsided result.
On Wednesday night, the Knights exacted a most unexpected revenge on their cross-town rivals in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs at Christian Recht Field.
Thirteenth-seeded Fairview, on the strength of first-half goals from Ryan Tidd and Myles Ellis, eliminated the defending champion and fourth-seeded Panthers 2-1 and advanced to Saturday's quarterfinals against Grandview at Legacy Stadium in Aurora.
"Obviously we were pretty embarrassed after that (previous) game and we talked about how we would trade those two losses (they lost earlier in the season to Boulder as well) for a win tonight," said Fairview coach Jeff Frykholm, whose team improves to 12-5. "We were fortunate to get one."
As if overcoming the stout Panthers on their homefield wasn't challenging enough, Fairview opened the game playing into the 40+ mph driving wind.
No matter, the Knights capitalized just over three minutes into the match. Tidd snuck behind the Boulder defense and headed home Caleb Delaney's cross past Boulder goalie Cameron Casey.
"We were able to score quick and that was able to help us a lot," said Tidd of his first goal of the season. "I don't know what the biggest difference in this one was, but I know we were really motivated to come out and I guess the third time is a charm."
Boulder, with the gale force winds at their back and a majority of the possession, had its chance in the first half, but couldn't get anything past Knights keeper Luc Albuisson -— including the 40 and 50 yards direct free kicks that were on frame.
"We executed the last two matches we played them, but they have been close matches despite the 4-0 scoreline the last time we played," Boulder coach Hardy Kalisher said.
The eventual game-winner came in the 40th minute. A beautiful through ball by Cory Reintsema to a streaking Myles Ellis had him one-on-one with Casey, and he tucked his shot just inside the near post to put the Knights up 2-0.
"That second goal was huge," Tidd said.
Boulder (14-2-1), whom Kalisher was confident in playing into the wind, still had a majority of the ball going into the wind and they cut the Knights lead in half in the 55th minute. Eric Ramirez's well placed direct free kick from 25-yards out beat Albuisson low to the near post.
Boulder nearly equalized in the 68th, when Luke Regnier hit a perfect volley on the outside of his foot that Albuisson dove hard to his left for and deflected away with his fingertips.
"(Luc) played such a good game, and he showed his experience and maturity and for him to make that save," Frykholm said. "Just his calming presence the whole game, was great."
Said Kalisher of the save: "Their goalkeeper had the save of the year on that one touch from Luke and tonight didn't go our way, but they have had an incredible season ... this is one of the top teams we have had at Boulder High in terms of the quality of play, camaraderie and I'm proud of them."
FAIRVIEW 2, BOULDER 1
At Christian Recht FieldFairview (12-5) 2 0 — 2
Boulder (14-2-1) 0 1 — 0
Goals (assists) — Fairview: Ryan Tidd (Caleb Delaney), 3rd minute; Myles Ellis (Cory Reintsema), 40th; Boulder: Eric Ramirez (unassisted), 55th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Fairview: Luc Albuisson (80-1-8); Boulder: Cameron Casey (80-2-1).