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  • Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer

    Longmont's Connor Bird, left, tries to move Niwot's Justin Barkow off the ball on Thursday.

  • Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer

    Longmont keeper Joel Chavez kicks the ball into play against Niwot on Thursday. Chavez finished with six saves to help the Trojans knock off previously unbeaten Niwot 1-0. For more photos: BoCoPreps.com.

  • Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer

    Niwot's Zach Pasma and Longmont's Orlando Alaniz get tangled up fighting for the ball Thursday. For more photos: BoCoPreps.com.

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NIWOT – Over the first half of the season, the Longmont boys soccer team has been quietly building a reputation as a top-tier team in Class 4A.

The Trojans were just lacking that signature win that could cement their status as a threat to the state’s top clubs and a contender in the 4A Northern League. On the road against undefeated conference rival Niwot on Thursday, the Trojans finally landed their keystone victory.

Shutting out 4A’s best offensive team, the Trojans (8-1, 2-0 Northern) got a late goal from junior striker Ruben Ordaz to win 1-0 and take the conference lead.

“We knew they were going to be talented and we knew the game was going to be competitive, it was just up to us to play as a team and go for the win,” Ordaz said. “Niwot is a great team but we’ve been getting better every day in practice and today was our day.”

Ranked third in this week’s CHNSAANow.com poll, Niwot (7-1, 1-1 Northern) averaged a ludicrous 7.3 goals per game through its first seven games.

It was an even contest with Niwot putting six shots on goal to Longmont’s five through the first 65 minutes. A valiant effort from Trojans goalkeeper Joel Chavez (6 saves) kept the game scoreless.

In the final 15 minutes, however, something clicked with the Trojans players, who launched an all-out attack to break the scoreless tie. Nine shots in the final 15 minutes, six of which were on frame, resulted in Ordez’s 72nd-minute goal off an assist from Alan Quintana and the victory.

“In all of our last few games, we’ve been building towards this game,” Trojans head coach Mike DiGiallonardo said. “They got charged in that last 15 minutes. I don’t know what charged them but something did and they started taking more and pushing each other on the field.”

Niwot goalkeeper Shane Ryan made nine saves, including five during Longmont’s late barrage. Offensively, the Cougars struggled to get the ball to reigning Northern League player of the year Justin Barkow (16 goals, 12 assists), who frequently bottled up by the Trojans back line.

“We try to get the ball to Justin but today we were playing him terrible balls,” Niwot head coach Rob Johnson said. “If the other team is taking care of Justin, we have to have other guys step up instead of just getting the ball forward and waiting to see what he does.”

Longmont’s only loss this season is to undefeated cross-town rival Skyline (9-0).

The Cougars will look to get back on track against Mountain View (4-4, 1-1 Northern) on Saturday in Loveland. Longmont will face another tough opponent in Thompson Valley (6-2, 2-0 Northern) on the road Monday.

 

Brad Cochi: cochib@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BradCochi

 

Longmont 1, Niwot 0

At Niwot H.S.

Longmont (8-1, 2-0) 0 1 — 1 

Niwot (7-1, 1-1) 0 0 — 0

Goals (assists) — Longmont: Ruben Ordez (Alan Quintana), 72nd minute.

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Longmont: Joel Chavez (80-0-6); Niwot: Shane Ryan (80-1-9).