DENVER — Often times when your team is the last team to play its way in to a championship tournament, it is also the first team to get bounced out.
The Monarch boys soccer team didn’t accept that fate willingly in the first round of the Colorado Class 5A state tournament on Thursday evening.
Emerging from an arduous Front Range League regular season gauntlet to qualify for the state playoffs, the Coyotes cracked the bracket as the No. 32 seed in the 32-team field. That standing, of course, drew the top-seeded Denver East Angels as the Coyotes’ first-round opponent.
Battling as best they could on the road in Denver, the Monarch boys eventually fell 4-1 to the tournament’s premier seed.
“It’s always going to be hard playing a top seed,” Coyotes head coach Jason Winn said. “We’ve been in that situation before playing against Boulder. They were a great, quality team. They gave our boys a run for a while there but in the second half our boys stepped up and showed some leadership qualities. We gave them our best and we wish them the best in the next round.”
For the first 20 minutes, the Monarch side played the tournament favorites to an even stalemate. But in the 21st minute, Angels (16-0) captain Max Gottesfeld opened the scoring with a goal off his own deflected shot. In the 28th minute, East’s Sam Carson put the Angels up 2-0 with a goal off a cross from Roberto Vasquez. Two minutes later, the Eagles drew a penalty kick and Gottesfeld converted the opportunity to break the game wide open at 3-0.
In the 74th minute, the Angels were awarded a second penalty shot for a handball in the box, and sophomore Marko Babiak scored to push the Eagles’ lead to 4-0.
In the 76th, the Coyotes were awarded a penalty shot of their own. The initial shot was saved by Angels goalkeeper Victor Yague Izquierdo but a retry was called for the junior coming off his line prematurely. On the second attempt, captain Edward Varney made the shot.
“We have such a great conference and the standard is so high that it says a lot about this group that graduated 10 starters last year and 13 seniors this year, basically rebuilding the team year-in and year-out,” Winn said. “Just to make the playoffs two years in a row is a huge accomplishment for us. We have the heart and we have the belief. It took four wins in our last five games just o make it here and now we have great building blocks for next year.
“We’re looking to come out the gates firing next year.”
The Angels will play No. 17 Cherokee Trail in the second round.
Denver East 4, Monarch 1
At Denver East H.S.
Monarch 0 1 — 1
Goals (assists) — Monarch: Edward Varney (penalty kick), 76th minute; Denver East: Max Gottesfeld, 21st minute; Sam Carson (Roberto Vasquez), 28th; Gottesfeld (penalty kick), 30th; Marko Bakiak (penalty kick), 74th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Monarch: Hank Dalle Molle (80-4-9); Denver East: Victor Yague Izquierdo (80-1-1).