AURORA -- Naturally, there probably wasn't a chance in the world this one was going to be decided within the 80 minutes allotted for regulation.
Boulder and Fairview collided in a chapter of the schools' cross-town rivalry that will go down as one for the ages on Wednesday, as both boys soccer programs vied for a historic spot in the Class 5A state championship game.
Even though Boulder dominated play for much of the match at Legacy Stadium, consistently pressuring Fairview's back line and testing Knights goalie Alan Scheuermann, the Panthers were unable to produce the goal that would have finally blown open the match.
At least until Javier Castruita once again worked his postseason magic.
Castruita recorded two assists in each of Boulder's first two state tournament games. Against Fairview on Wednesday and Rock Canyon on Saturday in the quarterfinals, Castruita produced the Panthers' lone goals in a pair of dramatic 1-0 victories.
Boulder, the tournament's sixth seed, will face fourth-seeded Smoky Hill in its first title game appearance at 4 p.m. Saturday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Boulder has not won a team state title in any sport since the Panthers claimed the 2000 state volleyball championship.
"We knew that we controlled the game the whole time and we knew that we deserved it," said Castruita, who is in his first season of varsity soccer. "Finally with the golden goal, we made it. It's an amazing feeling that I've never felt before. I never imagined anything like this. I just wanted to go each game at a time and get wins and get minutes."
Boulder (13-6) has won 11 of 12 games since it endured a 2-5 start to the season while taking on some of the state's top competition. Clearly that experience is paying off, as the Panthers have proven to be unflappable in their four postseason victories.
Against Fairview, Boulder dominated the action throughout the contest, earning a 9-2 advantage in shots on goal while recording a somewhat improbable 13-0 advantage in corner kicks.
All those chances went for naught, however, as Scheuermann kept turning away the Panthers' attempts. Boulder goalie Henry Huettel was not tested quite as often due in large part to the tremendous work of the Panthers' back line, which effectively throttled the Knights' high-scoring trio of Eric Kronenberg, Jack Mayfield, and Nick Porter.
"When we played them the first time, I thought at the beginning of that game we had a lot of trouble with them," BHS senior defender Cory Waltrip said, referring to the Panthers' win against Fairview during the regular season. "We fixed it and we dropped our line deeper. And when we dropped our line deeper, they didn't have as much time to play those balls they were getting over the top."
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Boulder 1, Fairview 0
At Legacy Stadium
Fairview (14-4-1) 0 0 0 -- 0
Boulder (13-6) 0 0 1 -- 1
Goals (assists) -- Boulder: Javier Castruita (Lake Brant), 86th minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) -- Fairview: Alan Scheuermann (86-1-7); Boulder: Henry Huettel (86-0-2).