COMMERCE CITY -- All that energy and focus the Boulder boys soccer team was planning to unleash on Saturday night will have to remained bottled for an extra 48 hours.
Where some of the state's top soccer programs, including cross-town rival Fairview, failed, Mother Nature succeeded in derailing the Panthers' state title drive, at least temporarily. A steady snowfall combined with gusty winds at Dick's Sporting Goods Park postponed Saturday night's Class 5A state championship match between Boulder and Smoky Hill.
The teams will reconvene at Dick's on Monday night, with the rescheduled championship tilt slated for 6 p.m.
"We train all year to control the controllables and focus on the things we can control, and we can't control this," said Boulder coach Hardy Kalisher, whose program is making its first appearance in the state title game. "There's actually some positives that come out of it. We'll talk about those things. We have an opportunity to rest our legs a little bit. And our focus, there's no need to try and get them focused. They're focused, and we'll be ready to play."
If there is any concern for the Panthers, it is that the 48-hour delay might stymie some of the incredible momentum the team has generated from the stretch run of the season through the four games of the state tournament. Boulder entered Saturday's scheduled match on the heels of a pair of 1-0 victories, including an overtime win against Fairview in the state semifinals on Wednesday. Before those two shutouts, the Panthers eliminated Chatfield in the second round on a goal by Mason Douillard in the final minute of regulation.
"It's just about staying mentally strong," junior defender Kevin Van Lieshout said. "We'll still be mentally ready."
The conditions clearly were a factor during the first two championship matches played Saturday at DSG Park. Colorado Academy defeated Kent Denver 1-0 in the Class 3A title game, but both teams struggled to produce shots on goal on the slick, ice-crusted turf. The field conditions worsened throughout the 4A final between Battle Mountain and Palmer Ridge, as both clubs struggled with their footing while through-balls and other passes were continually dragged down by the accumulating snow.
Battle Mountain and Palmer Ridge remained scoreless through two overtimes and, not long after Battle Mountain collected the 4A trophy on penalty kicks, the snowfall quickly intensified. Neither Boulder nor Smoky Hill even made it to the pitch for warm-ups before discussions began about postponing the match.
"We'll be ready Monday," Boulder captain Cory Waltrip said. "We like pretty soccer, and there wasn't going to be anything like pretty soccer. So I understand why they canceled the game. I think both teams do. We'll be ready to play pretty soccer on Monday."
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