BOULDER — For most teams, surrendering the tying goal in the waning moments of a state playoff game would have caused irreparable damage to that team’s confidence and momentum.
Most teams, however, do not enter the postseason enjoying the sort of run being put together by the Boulder boys soccer squad.
The Panthers continued their winning ways in dramatic fashion Monday night, netting a goal by Mason Douillard with 46.5 seconds remaining in regulation to post a thrilling 3-2 victory against Chatfield at Recht Field in the second round of the Class 5A state tournament.
Monday’s victory marked the third time this season Boulder (11-6-0) has produced a winning goal in the final minute. The sixth-seeded Panthers will take a streak of nine wins in 10 games into their quarterfinal round match at home Saturday against 19th-seeded Rock Canyon, which upset No. 3-seeded Heritage on Monday.
“Right after we gave up the tying goal my message to the team was to be composed,” Boulder coach Hardy Kalisher said. “We’ve won three games in the last minute this season, and it’s having the little bit of composure to be able to finish that. If you don’t have the composure, you don’t finish that. Mason got in and struck that ball calm.”
Boulder led 2-0 at halftime on goals by Matteo Wilczak and Lake Brant but, with Chatfield facing elimination, the Chargers increased their offensive pressure after the break.
Chatfield took eight corner kicks in the second half, including six in the first 20 minutes after halftime, and one of them paid dividends for the visitors. Just 3 minutes into the half, a corner kick from Chatfield’s Ryan LaGreca was redirected by Ryan Blarr past Boulder goalie Henry Huettel, trimming the Panthers’ lead to 2-1.
Chatfield kept pressing with a steady stream of offensive pressure and finally scored what easily could have turned into a backbreaking goal with 1:17 remaining. Huettel made an impressive stop of a shot by Chatfield’s Chad Hasse, but Caiman Stevens was in position to pounce on the rebound and score a goal that appeared as if it would send the match into overtime.
Douillard, though, had other ideas.
“That was coming the whole game,” Douillard said. “I don’t think a goal can be disheartening. It’s the playoffs and anything can happen. I’m not going to let us lose.”
Almost immediately after the ensuing kickoff following Chatfield’s tying goal, Boulder midfielder Javier Castruita slid a perfect lead pass to Douillard running free on the right wing. Douillard, who recorded two goals and two assists in Boulder’s first-round win against Montbello, blasted home his third goal of the postseason to vault the Panthers into the quarterfinals.
“We’re a character team, there’s no doubt about it,” Kalisher said. “Guys are elevating their effort. We’ve talked about redefining our sense of work-rate. If you look in our past games, we worked really hard. Well, in this game we had to work even harder. And that’s what it takes to go deep into the playoffs.”
Follow Pat on Twitter: @prooney07
Boulder 3, Chatfield 2
At Boulder H.S.
Chatfield (12-4-1) 0 2 — 2
Boulder (11-6-0) 2 1 — 3
Goals (assists) — Chatfield: Ryan Blarr (Ryan LaGreca), 43rd minute; Caiman Stevens, 79th minute. Boulder: Matteo Wilczak, 14th minute; Lake Brant, 36th minute; Mason Douillard (Javier Castruita), 80th minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Chatfield: Steven Seagraves (80-3-4). Boulder: Henry Huettel (80-2-2).