A month before the postseason will start, the Fairview Knights boys soccer team got to experience a game with playoff intensity.
It's not unusual. In the highly-competitive 5A Front Range League, nearly every game pits ranked teams. Until Tuesday, the Knights had fared well in those matches, but one miscue against No. 2 Fort Collins was all it took for the Lambkins to pull out a 1-0 win over No. 4 Fairview.
"One moment. One moment where we got caught," Fairview coach Jeff Frykholm said.
Tuesday's game was a battle of two of the top four teams in 5A. In fact, with Boulder ranked third in the class the Front Range League boasts three of the top four teams and overall seven ranked in the top 10.
That usually means it's a marquee matchup whenever the league has a game.
"It's a great league and every night is like this. That's what you want," Frykholm said. "It'll help us, hopefully if we make the playoffs, to get in these playoff-like games. You understand there's a different intensity and consequence if you don't do your job."
There was only one instance when the Knights (7-2, 5-1) didn't do the job, and it came late in a scoreless game. Fairview was working the ball in the Fort Collins end when the Lambkins (7-0-1, 4-0-1) got it. Alec Fronapfel sent a perfect pass downfield to Alec Priest, who split the defense and had a step on two Knights players.
He came in on goalkeeper Luc Albuisson and put a well-placed low shot to the far corner for the only goal of the game
"We were clean for most of it and we got caught in a moment, and that happens against a good team," Frykholm said.
The Knights had their chances to score, and started to put pressure on the Fort Collins defense late. The best opportunity came in the 78th minute but sophomore Will Hartman's shot went over the net.
"It's always disappointing to lose but you can take some positives," senior Corey Reintsema said. "It was a fast game and we played pretty well, it was just one mistake. They're the best team we've faced so far."
The road doesn't ease up for the Knights, so if they do get in the playoffs, they will have earned a spot.
"Legacy and Fossil Ridge are up next, so it doesn't get any easier," Frykholm said.
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Fort Collins 1, Fairview 0
At Fairview H.S.Fort Collins (7-0-1, 4-0-1)01—1Fairview (7-2, 5-1)00—0
Goals (assists) —Fort Collins: Anthony Priest, 62nd minute (Alec Fronapfel).
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Fort Collins: Alex Snavely (80-0-2); Fairview: Luc Albuisson (80-1-5).