Jeff Frykholm couldn’t immediately conjure up the results of the Class 5A state soccer tournament’s first round the night the Fairview High soccer team escaped Gateway on their home field last week.
If the Knights’ head coach could have, he would have seen they weren’t the only top-tier team that struggled to put away their opponent.
Like FHS’ 2-1 win over No. 32 seed Gateway, fourth-seeded Arapahoe and seventh-seeded Cherry Creek also played to a one-goal affair. Fifth-seeded Monarch and eighth-seeded ThunderRidge didn’t even make it out of the first round.
For Frykholm, last Thursday’s win didn’t ‘feel’ great. But at the same time, he said he thought a close opener could serve a useful purpose for future rounds, such as Wednesday’s second round home game against Rocky Mountain.
“We didn’t get the final score, or the tally sheet doesn’t look like we hoped it would look,” Frykholm said after the game. “However, the investment that they put in during the week is going to pay off down the road.”
The Knights are a focused bunch who also have a lot of focus pinned on them as the top overall seed. Gateway had a couple spurts that challenged Fairview, mainly on their counter attack, and it led to a frantic finish when the Olympians put a goal on the board and nearly tied the game in the final two minutes of regulation.
Fairview held on, and that’s where Frykholm felt the biggest gains will be made.
“This is playoff time, and to have to figure out how to lock down a game, that’s valuable experience,” he said. “There were a few frantic moments, and you have to put those in the bank and know when to use them down the line.
“I guarantee you we’re going to be in another one-goal game at some point, either chasing a goal or trying to hang to it.”
Things can get pretty interesting for Fairview this week, with the potential of playing two Front Range League opponents with so much on the line. The Knights will play the Lobos at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday — a rematch of a scoreless draw played out Sept. 17 — and then a Saturday quarterfinal could put them against either Legacy or Boulder.
Like their football brethren, the Panthers and Lightning will do battle on Wednesday, with Boulder hosting at Recht Field at 7 p.m. Boulder beat Legacy 3-1 on Oct. 13, but Legacy did just pull off one of the major playoff upsets in defeating ThunderRidge.
One more FRL team is still alive, that being No. 2 seed Broomfield. The Eagles are on the opposite side of the bracket than their colleagues, and they host Ralston Valley at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.