HIGHLANDS RANCH — Midfielder Will Hartman and goalkeeper Carter Melton are embracing their bigger roles with some key contribution and early production for Fairview.
Welcome to the spotlight, fellas.
Hartman scored on a mad scramble inside the box in the opening minutes and Melton made a dazzling save on a penalty kick to lead in the Knights to a 3-0 win over Mountain Vista on Thursday afternoon.
Will Griffith, who is back after missing most of last year with a broken arm, added some nice pressure throughout and in the 69th minute he lobbed a precise ball into the box that turned into an own-goal by the Golden Eagles. Sophomore Mason Sunderland tallied another with 30 seconds remaining and Melton and Noah Williams combined for a shutout performance in net for Fairview (2-0), which won its seconds straight to open the season after beating Holy Family 2-0 on Tuesday.
All three goals and three saves by the Knights, who started the year ranked sixth in Class 5A by CHSAA, at Shea Stadium came by players who had a limited or no role on Fairview's varsity squad a year ago. All of them are looking for bigger roles this year.
"We try to accelerate in their thinking about their identity as players," Fairview coach Jeff Frykholm said. "We try to move them up as continuously as possible because you need them. You have to have that depth."
Fairview returns five starters after it went from fifth in league to last eight standing in the state playoffs. And while wily veterans will be crucial in the Knights' quest for another deep playoff run, their true potential might be indicative of the play of their fresh-faced contributors.
"We need them to play at a high level," second-year starter Cooper Harmon said. "So, when we practice as hard as we can we get on them a lot and it elevates their game."
In the 7th minute, Harmon crossed an expert hit that eventually bounced to Hartman for the opening goal. The ball seemed to pinball bodies before it finally rattled between two defenders and made its way to Hartman. The talented sophomore prospect turned junior in the spotlight didn't miss.
"I suppose it's more of a leadership role (for me)," said Hartman, who had just one goal and one assist in 2017. "Last year we had a lot of senior leaders and just being on the team last year I was able to learn from them. And now this year I get to be one of those guys and get to try to emulate what they did."
Up 1-0, Melton kept Fairview ahead late in the half with an incredible save to his left on a penalty kick. Mountain Vista was awarded the chance in the 32nd minute and Corban Gamble drilled an on-target shot towards the right corner. Melton guessed correct.
In the second half, it was Williams' turn. The senior soared into air to tip a rousing chance up and over the net.
Frykholm has the fortune — and misfortune — of a talented goalkeeper group. The fourth-year coach said he has four talented keepers on roster but has not decided what the net time will look like throughout the year.
"We're sorting out the pecking order right now," he said. "I have confidence in all of them."
Next up for Fairview will be its home opener. It hosts Evergreen on Aug. 30.
Brent W. New: , email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @brentwnew
Fairview 3, Mountain Vista 0
At Shea StadiumFairview (2-0)12—3Mountain Vista (0-1)00—0
Goals (assists) —Fairview: Will Hartman (Cooper Harmon) 7th minute, Will Griffith (unassisted) 69th, Mason Sunderland (Sebastien Mazur) 79th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) Fairview: Carter Melton (40-0-2), Noah Williams (40-0-1); Mountain Vista: Ben Nalen (40-1-5); Kyle Hix (40-2-3)