BROOMFIELD — It's strange to scan through this year's Class 5A boys soccer playoff bracket to find the Broomfield boys seeded No. 13.
But the Eagles are the most decorated program in the history of Colorado and it would be safer to assume their postseason experience, rather than this year's postseason positioning, to be a more accurate measure of their quality.
Broomfield's seven boys soccer state titles are the most of any Colorado school ever. The Eagles have played in the last four 5A championship games and won three of them, including last year's. Even in 2014 when the Eagles were seeded 12th and entered the postseason with an 8-4-3 record, they went on to win the title.
So it wasn't a surprise on Thursday when the 13th-seeded Eagles dispatched the No. 20 Liberty Lancers with a 2-0 victory on the turf at Broomfield High School.
"It's a little bit of uncharted waters but it's what we deserve and I think our guys have accepted that," Eagles head coach Jim Davidson said. "I thought we were a little bit tight in the first half tonight. I thought we had some opportunities to go out and get a couple more goals so we made it a little bit hard on ourselves. But it's always been our MO that we're trying to play our best soccer at the end and we've had our last two weeks of training have been our best so hopefully we can make a run at this thing."
The visiting Lancers (11-5) held up well throughout the first half, not allowing a shot on goal while the Eagles (10-6) spent most of the opening 40 minutes on the attack. The game was tied 0-0 at halftime.
In the 51st minute, Broomfield junior Mawolo Easton broke the stalemate with the Eagles' first goal of the postseason. It wasn't long before he notched the Eagles' second in the 53rd minute, scoring off an excellent pass from teammate Gustavo Gutierrez.
"Honestly, that was probably the best game we've played all season," Mawolo said. "We really connected as a team and played like brothers. I think that's why we won today. In the first half, we were just hesitating. In the second half we were more aggressive and when we finally scored, that hyped everybody up."
The Eagles are the reigning state champions because they defeated Denver East by a score of 1-0 in the championship game last season. In the second round on Wednesday, they will face No. 4 Denver East (15-1) in a 2017 title game rematch.
"We know the route is going to be tough, having to go through East," Davidson said. "That's a really good team and a team we've seen a lot over the last couple years, playing them in last year's state finals and in the semifinals the year before. It's a team that's extremely well coached and they'll be tough at home. We'll have to be a bit better than we were today but hopefully we can play loose and play like we don't have much to lose on the road against a higher seed."
Broomfield 2, Liberty 0
At Broomfield H.S.Liberty (11-5) 00—0Broomfield (10-6) 02—2
Goals (assists) —Broomfield: Mawolo Easton, 51st minute; Mawolo Easton (Gustavo Gutierrez), 53rd minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Liberty: Nicholas Kuykendall (80-2-7); Broomfield: Jack Stoecker (80-0-3).