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Fairview High School's Andre Miller, at right, and another teammate, not identified, show their emotions after losing a playoff game against Heritage High School on Thursday, Oct. 24, at Fairview High School in Boulder. For more photos of the game go to www.dailycamera.com
Jeremy Papasso/ Camera
JEREMY PAPASSO
Fairview High School’s Andre Miller, at right, and another teammate, not identified, show their emotions after losing a playoff game against Heritage High School on Thursday, Oct. 24, at Fairview High School in Boulder. For more photos of the game go to www.dailycamera.com Jeremy Papasso/ Camera

BOULDER — All too often in the first round of the soccer playoffs in Colorado, the results often equate to a Shakespearean tragedy for some elite teams. Squads with high aspirations do nearly everything right but still come up woefully short.

Fairview coach Stan Jozwiak never imagined that would happen to the Knights, not this year.

The No. 7 seed in the Class 5A playoffs is alive no more, however, after No. 26-seed Heritage held together long enough Thursday night to stun the Knights on an overtime goal that really, truly came out of nowhere.

Mattia Cominelli’s tally from about 25 yards out shortly after grabbing a loose ball curved inside the far post and was out of the reach of goalkeeper Alan Scheuermann with 3:52 left in the first extra session, giving the Eagles a 1-0 win to advance to the second round.

“It’s a wicked game in that respect,” Jozwiak said after his team finished 12-3-1 for the year. “You can have so much of (the control of play) and not being able to carry out that final act of putting a point on the board, and you find yourself in a situation like this when everything is riding on it. It happens, and it happened to us here tonight, unfortunately.”

After controlling much of the play at the Fairview field, the Knights were completely blindsided by the goal. A bouncing ball that was simply being fought for possession ended up on the foot of Cominelli, who dribbled into the middle of the field and unleashed with his left foot.

Fairview players could only stand motionless after, while Cominelli’s teammates rallied around him on the far side of the field to bask in the joys of victory.

“I guess we could have stepped to the ball quicker, but it’s hard to say because it came so quick I still don’t really know what happened,” said senior defender Conor Greishaber. “I am still shocked.”

The defensive effort from both teams was notable throughout, with Heritage finding ways to shut down Joel Frykholm, Aidan Stout, Luis Flores and the rest of the Knights directly in front of the net. The Eagles were not about to get beat wide, either.

Two early saves from freshman Jack Schulze kept the game manageable for the visitors, and by the time senior Riccardo Cominelli entered the game between the posts to begin the second half, Heritage found itself still embedded in a scoreless game.

Riccardo Cominelli then took over, making seven saves — the biggest coming in the 52nd minute as he came out hard to cut down an angle with Flores bearing down on him. Frykholm had another hard shot later on from directly in the middle of the field silenced by Cominelli, and the scoring chances just came too few and far between.

“I think we almost kind of gained momentum in the second half, I mean, we dominated,” Greishaber said. “But like any game, you can lose it in an instant, and that’s what happened tonight. I think we were in control, but they’re a very good team and they punished us for one mistake.”

“By all measures, the territory, the ball, the time on the ball … we just couldn’t find the good chance in front of the goal — to their credit, I’m sure,” Jozwiak added. “A golden-goal playoff defeat is a real tough pill to swallow. That’s a lot of work for it to come crashing down in just a whack of the ball.”

Heritage improved to 9-5-2, and head coach Adam Buseck called the game “one of the best high school games I’ve seen in a long time.” Buseck credited the defense to start, but he was not shocked that the winner would come from Mattia Cominelli, either.

“We pride ourselves on playing good hard defense and staying composed, and the guys did it,” he said. “Good senior leadership … soccer’s a cruel game, but I’m proud of both of the team’s efforts.

“Mattia is a dangerous attacking player with a nose for a goal. I’m not surprised, to be honest with you.”

Follow Adam on Twitter: twitter.com/adunivan24

HERITAGE 1, FAIRVIEW 0, OT

At Fairview H.S.

Heritage (9-5-2) 0 0 1 — 1

Fairview (12-3-1) 0 0 0 — 0

Goals (assists) — Heritage: Mattia Cominelli (unassisted), 92nd minute.

Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Heritage: Jack Schulze (40-0-2), Riccardo Cominelli (52-0-7); Fairview: Alan Scheuermann (92-1-5).

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