BOULDER — Boulder jumped out to a big lead in its Class 5A second round game thanks to a meshing of brilliant goals from Kenneth Jew and Sam Phillips.
First, it was Jew. Then Phillips. And finally, Phillips to Jew.
The one-two punch was more than enough to KO Pine Creek in a 4-1 victory on Wednesday night, pushing the Panthers back into the quarterfinals for a sixth time in seven years.
"The game is always looking for a hero, and in this case, we had a couple heroes in Kenny and Sam," Boulder coach Hardy Kalisher said. "Also, we had some guys doing the silent work. ... It's a total team effort."
Because of it, there were no real scares this Halloween for the two-seed Panthers (16-1). They dominated play most of the way in the icy-cold conditions at Christian Recht Field. Jew's two goals and Phillips' goal and assist had the area juggernaut up 3-0 by half on the bracket's 15 seed. Milo Lewon then made it 4-1 in the final minutes.
The Panthers, back in the quarterfinals after losing to Fairview in the second round a year ago, will face Front Range League-foe Fort Collins on Saturday. They beat the Lambkins 3-2 in league play on Sept. 13.
"We're playing some great team soccer right now," Boulder's coach said. "I think we're an unpredictable team. Goals, assists, players of the game and effort is coming from all over the field."
Jew opened the scoring from way out in the 3rd minute to give Boulder the lead. With the Panthers pressing in the zone, Pine Creek's rushed clear attempt landed at the feet of Jew about 44 yards away. The senior defender then floated what appeared to be a harmless chance at Eagles goalie Eli Young. The Eagles keeper tried to grasp the shot just above his head — instead, it slipped through his fingers and spun into the back of the net.
Phillips then added to it in the 26th minute on an expert free kick from 25 yards out. Set up just left of the box, his chance sliced through a wall of players and curled into the left corner of the net for the junior's fifth goal of the season.
"One thing that we always tell each other and each one of us knows is we're extremely deep," Phillips said. "Any player can step up."
Not long after, the lead grew to three as Phillips placed an expert corner to the far post and Jew speared it into the net. It was Jew's second goal of the night and third of the year.
"Sam just put it right to the back post and I was wide open," Jew said.
The Panthers were again without reigning BoCoPreps Player of the Year Omar Castruita for a seventh straight game, per Kalisher. The senior cheered his team along in street clothes as the Panthers continued to push forward.
"We've had the same mentality over the season and we get closer," Phillips said. "It's working out — just because of the love."
Brent W. New: email@example.com and @brentwnew
Boulder 4, Pine Creek 1
At Christian Recht FieldPine Creek (9-7-1) 0 1 — 1
Goals (assists) —Boulder: Kenneth Jew (unassisted), 3rd minute; Boulder: Sam Phillips (free kick), 26th; Boulder: Jew (Phillips), 31st; Pine Creek: Evan McAllister (Jackson Isaacs), 56th; Boulder: Milo Lewon (Arroll Taekla), 72nd.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Pine Creek: Eli Young (80-4-7); Boulder: Toby Bateman (80-1-6).