Stan Jozwiak's long-awaited return to the pinnacle of high school soccer will have to wait for another year. Again.
Another stirring run through the Class 5A state tournament once again ended in heartbreak Wednesday for the Fairview Knights, as a strong second-half comeback went for naught when an overtime goal from Broomfield's Tyler Hulst ended Fairview's season in the state semifinals.
The loss means that Jozwiak, with 34 seasons at the helm of the Knights under his belt, still will be sitting on just a lone title game appearance — a runner-up finish in 1984 when Fairview lost to Northglenn. As usual, the veteran coach was both emotional and thoughtful in the moments after his team's stunning loss, his thoughts turning to the week in mid-September when his Knights suffered one-goal losses on the road against Broomfield as well as perennial power Pine Creek.
"We were talking beforehand before we came out here about the week we played Broomfield and Pine Creek, and we played very good soccer but came out with nothing," Jozwiak said. "We've come so far from then. That was a great string of wins we put together and we had some great performances in the tournament last week."
Fairview's quest to return to the title game once again was turned away by a local rival, as was the case in 2012 when the Knights fell to Boulder in similar fashion in overtime in the state semifinals. Same as in 2010, when the Shane O'Neill-led Knights were eliminated by Boulder in the state quarterfinals, or in 2011, when the second-seeded Knights were upended by Rock Canyon in a penalty-kick shootout in the second round.
The Knights certainly had their moments against Broomfield, not the least of which was Casey Munsch's header goal off a long pass from Raul Magno that drew Fairview even at 1-1 with 9 minutes, 3 seconds remaining in regulation. Munsch very nearly provided the equalizer minutes earlier when his drive along the end line was turned away by the Broomfield defense. And senior defender Dan Windsor kept Broomfield from taking a two-goal lead by clearing a ball off the Fairview goal line late in the first half.
The Knights simply could never fully recover from an uneven first half of play.
"We didn't play well in the first half. We gave the ball away a lot and were soft in the middle of the field," Jozwiak said. "We came on well enough in the second half, but we didn't have enough quality to get out in front and avoid the overtime. You get into that overtime, and something like that happens — a bouncing ball and a great shot."
Once again Jozwiak will be tasked with rebuilding the Knights on the fly. This year's senior class includes goalie Alex Ray; the top two goal-scorers in Munsch and Luis Flores; and midfield dynamo Magno.
"It's a great program that values hard work and fighting for everything," Munsch said. "You can't get to stages like this all the time without everyone on the team really wanting it. Some of those values about teamwork just keep getting passed on."
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Broomfield 2, Fairview 1, OT
At Legacy Stadium
Broomfield (12-4-3) 1 1 1 — 2
Fairview (13-6) 0 1 0 — 1
Goals (assists) — Broomfield: Tyler Duggan (Porter Milner), 32nd minute; Fairview: Casey Munsch (Raul Magno), 71st; Broomfield: Tyler Hulst (unassisted), 93rd.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Broomfield: Michael Genge (94-1-5); Fairview: Alex Ray (94-2-2).