BOULDER -- When Fairview boys soccer coach Stan Jozwiak thinks back to his club's cross-town rivalry showdown against Boulder in late September, one haunting vision invariably springs to mind.
That vision is the picture of one of Boulder's many talented offensive players taking advantage, as the Panthers are prone to do, of a counter-attack situation to race free down the field and create a scoring opportunity.
Boulder used a pair of quick-moving counter-attacks to hand rival Fairview a 2-0 defeat on Sept. 27. Limiting those opportunities will be at the top of Fairview's game plan when the rivals collide in the Class 5A state semifinals on Wednesday night at Legacy Stadium in southeast Aurora.
Broomfield also has reached the state semifinals and will play for a berth in the Class 4A state title game when the Eagles take on undefeated Battle Mountain on Wednesday night at Sports Authority Stadium in Parker.
"We've grown a bit since that game," Jozwiak said. "We've grown in our defense and we've got a couple players playing different positions from when we played (Boulder) the first time.
"They have all these players that have gotten these last-minute goals for them. We have to seal up those opportunities. Boulder plays so well on counter-attacks. We got caught twice on those in our league match and Boulder plays really well in that area."
Both teams enter the match riding hot postseason scoring streaks from their top forwards.
Fairview's Eric Kronenberg has scored all three of the Knights' goals in their past two victories, and he also recorded an assist in Fairview's opening-round win against Bear Creek. Kronenberg leads Fairview with nine assists, and his 13 goals are tied for the team lead with Jack Mayfield.
Boulder junior Mason Douillard recorded three goals and two assists in the Panthers' first two postseason victories, while junior Javier Castruita posted a pair of two-assist games before scoring the only goal of Boulder's quarterfinal round win against Rock Canyon on a penalty kick.
Sixth-seeded Boulder (12-6-0) has won three of its past four matches against No. 10 Fairview (14-3-1), a stretch that includes the Panthers' victory against their cross-town rival in the 2010 state quarterfinals. The winner will face either No. 4 Smoky Hill or No. 9 Cherry Creek in the title match Saturday afternoon at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
"I give (Castruita) a lot of credit, because recently we were working through penalty kicks at practice and he didn't necessarily want to take one," Boulder coach Hardy Kalisher said. "We needed someone to step up and take that penalty kick, and he didn't flinch.
"That shows how he's matured. He's willing to put the team on his shoulders. He's had some game-winning goals for us and it's all been a credit to him."
Broomfield (14-1-3), seeded second in the 4A bracket, will take on an upstart sixth-seeded Battle Mountain team that has gone 18-0 and has outscored its three playoff opponents by a combined 8-2. If the Eagles win, they will take on either No. 4 Mullen or No. 1 Palmer Ridge in the title match on Saturday.
"This is a team (Battle Mountain coach) Dave Cope has been putting together for a few years," Broomfield coach Jim Davidson said. "They've been getting good experience in the state tournament the last couple of years and this should be a good matchup."
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