LOVELAND — Usually when you think high energy, you don't think of a big lumbering horse like a Clydesdale.
But Camdon Ford, who is affectionately known by his Boulder teammates as "Clyde" — after he barreled through the defense at practice one day like the gigantic horse and scored a goal — provided the spark the stagnant Panthers offense needed on Saturday afternoon at Mountain View against Front Range League rival Loveland.
After a scoreless first half, it was Ford who set up the Panthers' first goal, what amounted to the game-winner, to Pascal Fuchs in the 44th minute. Boulder would go on to beat the Indians 3-0 and improve to 3-1-2 overall and 2-0 in league play.
"Putting in a guy like Camdon, who is a high-energy, very high work rate player and just like he did against Fairview, today he was that spark we needed to create that goal," Boulder coach Hardy Kalisher said. "Pascal came in and put in some good minutes at center forward when we had a regular who was out sick. He came in and got that goal, which was great."
With the team feeling good about itself after a huge win earlier in the week against Denver East, the top-ranked team in 5A by CHSAANow.com, Kalisher knew that getting his boys mentally prepared for Loveland, on natural grass, was a must.
"I knew exactly what we needed to work on today would be the mental part of the game and being up for a game at 4 o'clock on a Saturday up here in the tall grass," he said. "So that was the challenge, we created some opportunities early and I thought we would, but the finishing wasn't there and we kept Loveland in it for the first half."
Jack Dooley, Quinn Liebmann and Fuchs all had brilliant chances in the first half, only to be turned away by Loveland keeper Sam Eitenbichler, who finished with 10 saves.
The adjustments were made at the half and the Panthers not only adjusted to the natural playing surface — where the temptation is to put the ball in the air too much, especially for a fast-paced team like the Panthers — but the Indians defense as well.
"It's a whole different environment and we really had to pick up our game and play to the conditions," said Ford. "Really it was just a mater of effort and we didn't bring it in the first half. We came out in the second and knew what we had to do."
Fuchs' goal triggered a Panthers offense that finished with 13 shots on target., including seven in the second half. Six minutes after the first goal, Dooley made it 2-0 with a rocket from the top of the box that beat Eitenbichler high to his far post.
"Yeah we have a reputation, but we have to go into every game like we are playing the top team in the state and we have to play with the respect the other team deserves," Ford said. "And bring everything we've got too."
Paolo Wilczak closed out the scoring in the waning moments, taking a beautiful overlapping ball from Michael O'Herron to wrap up the scoring.
Boulder keeper Leo Huettel had to make just two saves to earn his first clean sheet of the season.
"We need to finish team off in the first half," Kalisher said. "We are playing good soccer, we just have to be hungry. The lesson for the team today is to learn that you earn every game and in the Front Range League, every team is quality."
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Boulder 3, Loveland 0
At Mountain View HS
Boulder (3-1-2, 2-0) 0 3 — 3
Loveland (2-2-1, 0-1) 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) — Boulder: Pascal Fuchs (Camdon Ford), 44th minute; Boulder: Jack Dooley (unassisted), 50th; Boulder: Paolo Wilczak (Michael O'Herron), 76th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Boulder: Leo Huettel (80-0-2); Loveland: Sam Eitenbichler (80-3-10).