Here's an outlook for each of the first-round soccer games that include teams from the BoCoPreps area. Play in 5A and 3A will begin Thursday, while 4A starts Wednesday. The higher seed received home-field advantage in the first round. Dawson, No. 3 in 2A, received a first-round bye.

 

5A bracket

 

No. 32 Mountain Vista at No. 1 Fairview

Details: Thursday, 6:30 p.m. at Fairiview's turf field

What to know: Fairview (15-0) went undefeated in the Front Range League, a league widely recognized as the most talented and deepest in the state. And to that, well done ... now we wait to see how it translates to the postseason. In Round 1, the Knights will face Mountain Vista (4-6-5) for the second time this season after previously beating the Golden Eagles 3-0 in their second game of the year.

Who to watch: Fairview keeper Carter Melton has allowed one goal in 859 minutes in net. Over that time, he has 39 saves and a goals against average of .095. His test Thursday is Mountain Vista, which has only scored 18 goals this season. Advantage: Melton. Advantage: Fairview.

 

No. 31 Chaparral at No. 2 Boulder

Details: Thursday, 7 p.m.at Recht Field

What to know: Boulder (14-1) lost just once this season — 2-1 in double overtime to Fairview in a result that could have easily gone either way. The Panthers scored 54 goals in 15 games and have a talented young keeper in back in sophomore Toby Bateman. They'll look extend their six-game winning streak against the seventh team out of the 5A/4A Continental League, Chaparral (8-6-1).


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Who to watch: BoCoPreps player of the year Omar Castruita is the obvious pick here. But keep an eye on forward Jesse Bacardi, too. The senior forward tallied a point in 10 of the 14 games he played. He currently has 12 goals and three assists. Castruita, meanwhile, leads the team with 13 goals and 12 assists.

 

No. 28 Westminster at No. 5 Legacy

Details: Thursday, 6:30 p.m. at North Stadium

What to know: Legacy (11-3-1) finished behind only Fairview and Boulder —the top two seeds in the state — in the Front Range League. A mix of gritty and opportunistic, the Lightning have proven they can play with anyone. They fell to Fairview by one goal, Boulder by two, and beat defending champ Broomfield in an overtime thriller. Westminster (11-4), meanwhile, had its best regular season in at least a decade — finishing with 11 wins. The Wolves finished 7-0 at home but just 4-4 on the road.

Niwot’s Manny Tapia, center, leads the Cougars into the postseason this week.
Niwot's Manny Tapia, center, leads the Cougars into the postseason this week. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

Who to watch: Forward Blake Hansen, Legacy's Mr. Big Shot. Of the junior's team-leading 10 goals this season, Hansen has scored three goals in a game twice and two goals in a game once. He scored seven of the 10 in a four-game stretch from Sept. 27 to Oct. 9, capping it off with two in a 2-1 comeback win over Broomfield. If he gets going in the tournament, expect Legacy to be in for the long haul.

 

No. 20 Liberty at No. 13 Broomfield

Details: Thursday, 6 p.m. at Broomfield

What to know: Broomfield (9-6) is looking for its fourth state title in five years. The question is, what can you expect from the Eagles this season? They lost six times, but only their 2-0 defeat at Fairview on Oct. 11 was by more than a goal. So while it's hard to tab Broomfield as one of the favorites with nine wins in 15 games —remember, the 2014 Eagles were 8-4-3 before rolling to the state title. First up, they'll face Liberty (11-4), which finished second in the 5A/4A Colorado Springs Metro League.

Who to watch: Broomfield defender Andres Ocampo leads a group of five returning starters from last year's title run. Ocampo, Tanner Smith, Sean O'Brien, Nathan Dishongh and Cade Austin all have a championship pedigree. Consider that invaluable experience as the Eagles look to make another run.

 

4A bracket

No. 24 Northridge at No. 9 Skyline

Details: Wednesday, 3:30 p.m. at Skyline

What to know: Skyline (12-2-1) began the season 0-2 and finished 12-0-1. The Falcons are hoping to build off their quarterfinals appearance last season when they fell to eventual champ Air Academy 3-2 in overtime. They've outscored the opposition 50-13 this season.

Who to watch: Nathan Wanninger has 25 goals of his team's 50 goals this season, according to MaxPreps. The senior has scored in 11 of the team's 15 games. He had six goals in a win over Roosevelt on Sept. 26 and had four goals and four assists in a win over Berthoud last week. Wanninger's 25 goals is second in Class 4A to Sand Creek's Jayden Austin, who has 28.

 

No. 23 Evergreen at No. 10 Holy Family

Details: Thursday, 6 p.m. at Holy Family

What to know: Holy Family (11-2-2) hasn't lost a game in more than a month. Since a 3-2 defeat at Skyview on Sept. 10, the Tigers are 9-0-1. They drew with Skyline on a cold and wet net on Oct. 8 as both teams eventually finished atop the 5A/4A/3A Tri-Valley League standings at 7-0-1. In Round 1, they face Evergreen (7-8), which rebounded from a 2-7 start to make the postseason.

Who to watch: The Chavers brothers: Darin and Cody Chavers lead a deep attack for Holy Family. According to MaxPreps, the Tigers have 18 players listed with at least one goal this year.

 

No. 19 George Washington at No. 14 Silver Creek

Details: Wednesday, 3:30 p.m. at Silver Creek

What to know: From 2-5 to league champs, Silver Creek (9-6) may be one of the hottest teams entering the 4A tournament. The Raptors won seven of their last eight games to win the 4A Northern League. They outscored opponents 32-5 in that span. Now, they face George Washington (8-6-1), which had its first winning season since 2015.

Who to watch: Silver Creek goalie Aidan Lantaff. The senior has logged every minute in goal this year for the Raptors — 1,234 in all. He has 135 saves and six shutouts. Over the team's last seven wins, he has allowed just one goal.

 

No. 17 Standley Lake at No. 16 Centaurus

Details: Wednesday, 6 p.m. at Centaurus

What to know: Centaurus (9-5), which finished the season with consecutive losses, will have a tough road back to the state title game. If the Warriors beat Standley Lake (9-4-2), they'll likely face defending champ Air Academy in a rematch of last year's championship final. Before that, the Gators will be a tough test in the first round. The Westminster school has moved out of the first round every year since 2014. That year, they lost 2-1 in overtime to Centaurus.

Who to watch: Fernando Ruiz has 19 goals and six assists. Christian Nunez has 14 goals and 11 assists. Centaurus' dynamic duo came up big in last year's run to the state title game, and the two will have to be good if the Warriors want to again go deep this season.

 

No. 18 Niwot at No. 15 Pueblo West

Details: Wednesday, 5 p.m. at Pueblo West Cyclone Stadium

What to know: Niwot (8-6-1) may have cost itself a chance to host a playoff game with consecutive losses to end the season. The Cougars, however, are a team more dangerous than their seed might indicate. Of their six losses, they fell to 5A No. 5 Legacy in overtime, as well as 4A No. 1 Air Academy and No. 2 Skyview by one goal. They also beat No. 9 Skyline. First up for them in the postseason is Pueblo West (10-3-2), which tied atop the 4A South Central standings.

Who to watch: Niwot forward Manuel Tapia has 31 goals and counting over the last two seasons. The senior has tallied at least a point in 12 games this season. Last year, Tapia scored the game-winning goal against Denver North in double overtime to send the Cougars into the semifinals.

 

3A bracket


 

No. 25 Jefferson Academy at No. 8 Vail Mountain

Details: Thursday, TBA

What to know: Going on the road may not be such a bad thing for Jefferson Academy (6-8-1), which has won four of its last five games away from home. The Jaguars were the No. 1 seed last year but fell in quarterfinals to Liberty Common. With a win over Vail Mountain, the Jags will get the winner of No. 9 Liberty Common and No. 24 Peak to Peak.

Who to watch: Jefferson Academy forward Payton Tennal. Tennal scored in the opening two games of the postseason last year and will be one of the few returning starters from last year's playoff run. The Jags lost 10 players to graduation from a year ago.

 

No. 24 Peak to Peak at No. 9 Liberty Common

Details: Thursday, TBA

What to know: The Pumas (6-5-4) finished the season with only one loss in their last eight games, going 3-1-4. They face Liberty Common (12-3), which outscored its opponents 86-8 on the year. If the Pumas can keep it close, though, they should be well-tested as they were involved in five games that went into overtime, going 1-0-4.

Who to watch: Peak to Peak senior Michael Chewning. The forward had a hand in half of the team's 26 goals this season —tallying seven scores and six assists. The Pumas will need offense wherever they can get it against a team that scored more than three times as many goals as they did in the regular season.

 

All dates, times and locations are subject to change. Please check with schools for up-to-date information.

Brent W. New: bwnew@prairiemountainmedia.com and https://twitter.com/BrentWNew