Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
file photo / Denver Post
file photo / BoCoPreps.com
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
PLAYERS TO KNOW
MF – Omar Castruita, Sr., Boulder: He’s an All-American, and he’s last year’s Front Range League and BoCoPreps.com Player of the Year. It’s Goalmar, and he’ll look to have another season full of accolades after he had 20 goals and 19 assists in 2017.
F – Fernando Ruiz, Jr., Centaurus: Ruiz had 22 goals and eight assists, helping lead the Warriors all the way to the 4A state title game.
MF – Jesse Isenhart, Jr., Dawson: Isenhart had 16 goals and 11 assists, leading Dawson to a league title as a sophomore. The versatile midfielder could be one of the top producers in the 2A classification this season.
MF – Tanner Smith, Sr. Broomfield: Smith was second on the team with 11 goals and six assists during his junior campaign. Three of the other four top-goal scorers from last year’s state champs have graduated.
F – Christian Nunez, Jr., Centaurus: The one-two punch of Ruiz and Nunez are as dangerous as any forward duo in the 4A classification. Nunez had 15 goals and 14 assists last year.
F – Manny Tapia, Sr., Niwot: Tapia had 16 goals and nine assists in 2017. He had five games with multiple goals. And then there was his four-goal, four-assist game in a 10-0 win against Mountain View on Oct. 16. He should fill up the stat sheet again in 2018.
F – Josh Khoudary, Sr., Erie: If the Tigers hope to compete for a league title, Khoudary will need to take another step in his soccer progression. The senior should be a strong presence up top for Erie this season.
D – Andres Ocampo, Sr. Broomfield: Ocampo is the lone defender returning from a unit that allowed just two goals in five postseason games.
MF – Sajji Singh, Sr., Fairview: Singh was solid in the middle of the field for the Knights, who cruised all the way to the 5A quarterfinals last season. The third-year starter brings a lot of skill and experience to the Knights.
F – Joey Joiner, Sr., Legacy: He had 10 goals and 10 assists a year ago for the very competitive Lightning.
D – Kike Barrera, Sr., Frederick: An honorable mention on last year’s BoCoPreps.com All-Region team, Barrera should again be stout in the backfield as Frederick looks to improve from four wins a year ago.
D – Abel Campos, Sr., Holy Family: He was named as an honorable mention in the BoCoPreps.com All-Region team a year ago. Through its first 13 games last season, Holy Family allowed only 16 goals.
F- Ian Coen, Sr. Jefferson Academy: Coen had 16 goals and six assists last season, leading the Jags to an undefeated streak that spanned 17 games.
GK – Diego Chavez, Jr., Skyline: Chavez had 11 shutouts in 16 games played last season – and two of those were in the postseason. Clutch.
MF – Simon Gerlach, Jr., Silver Creek: The Raptors are trying to replace their top two scorers from a year ago in Connor Peskin and Trey Gerlach, who combined for 27 goals. Simon Gerlach had just three goals last year but led the team with nine assists.
MF – Michael Mote, Jr., Prospect Ridge Academy: Mote is developing into a strong presence for Prospect Ridge. His versatility gives him the ability to stretch the field.
GK – Hank Dalle-Molle, Sr., Monarch: Dalle-Molle helped the Coyotes reach the postseason despite the team’s season-long offensive struggles. The senior should be strong in net once again.
The regular season is completed by Oct. 20 and the state brackets for all classifications will be released on Oct. 22. Class 2A will have a 12-team bracket, while the rest of the classifications will have 32-team playoff brackets. The 5A state championship will be Nov. 9 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, while the rest of the classifications will have their title games held there the following day.
Coach: Hardy Kalisher (13th year)
Last year: 14-2-1 overall, 10-1-1 5A Front Range
Returning starters: Omar Castruita (Sr., MF); Ian McDiarmid-Sterling (Sr., MF); Daniel Zapatero (Sr., MF); Fabian Valencia (Sr. F).
Others to watch: Jesse Bacardi (Sr., F); Sam Phillips (Jr. F); Micah Blackburn (Jr. MF).
Outlook: Last year, Boulder won its league for the second straight season but fell in the second round of the Class 5A postseason to crosstown rival Fairview. The Panthers, who graduated 20 seniors off last year’s roster, will likely remain a league and state contender behind Castruita, the school’s all-time goals and assists leader.
Coach: Jim Davidson (22nd season)
Last year: 17-2-1 overall, 9-2-1 5A Front Range (state champions)
Returning starters: Andres Ocampo (Sr., D); Tanner Smith (Sr. MF); Sean O’Brien (Sr., D); Nathan Dishongh (Sr., F); Cade Austin (Sr., MF).
Others to watch: Mawolo Easton (Jr. F); Jon-Luc Harbour (So., D); Gustavo Gutierrez (Jr., F) Evan Stearns (Jr., D); Jack Painter (Sr., MF); Cobe Fatovic (Sr., MF); Jack Stoecker (Jr., GK); Kaden Carson (Sr., GK).
Outlook: The Eagles won seven in a row and didn’t drop a game over their last 12 to end the season on top of the 5A soccer world. Now, the state champs will look to defend their crown after losing a talented senior class that included Michael Mooney, who led the team in goals a year ago. Said Davidson: “Coming off a state championship is always a challenging task. The target on our jersey will loom large, but we are confident in our ability to reload this season. We have an excellent core group of seniors that have begun to assume leadership roles and who also possess a wealth of varsity and playoff experience.”
Coach: Lee Stanley (fourth year)
Last year: 16-3-1 overall; 6-0-1 4A Northern (league champions, Class 4A runner-up)
Returning starters: Connor Stephan (Sr.); Max Vali (Sr.); Cristian Rice (Sr.); Jack Bilello (Sr.); Christian Nunez (Jr.); Jesus Garcia (Jr.); Fernando Ruiz (Jr.); Raudel Manjarrez (Jr.).
Others to watch: Mario Hernandez (Sr.); Johan Murillo (So.).
Outlook: Expectations are hard to gauge at this point for the Warriors, who graduated three all-state players from last season’s team that went all the way to the 4A state title game. Said Stanley: “Coming off a successful year — Centaurus’ best ever — we are looking to manage expectations while playing an extremely difficult schedule both in and out of our league. This year’s program has come into early-season training hungry and motivated, and we hope to continue to be a tight knit group of Warrior brothers who can find a way to continue the culture and success of past seasons.”
Coach: Dave Criswell (first season)
Last year: 11-4-2 overall; 5-0 3A Mile High (league champions)
Returning starters: Tony Aieta (Jr.); Jesse Isenhart (Jr.); Andre Metzger (Jr.); Max Morrow (Jr.); Rio Sueyoshi (Jr.); Spencer Sampliner (Jr.); Jacob Wolhandler (Sr.).
Others to watch: Jonas Ricke (So.); Nick Knobel (Fr.).
Outlook: State classification adjustments pushed Dawson down to Class 2A this season. This comes a year after the Mustangs won their league and reached the second round of the Class 3A state tournament. “With several returning players, a large freshman class and a few new players on the roster, the early focus is about building our team chemistry and culture,” the first-year coach said. “(That), plus finding combinations of players we can build our lineups around.”
Coach: Jeff Vigil (second year)
Last year: 7-9 overall; 5-2 4A Tri-Valley
Returning starters: Dylan Brown (Sr., GK); Jon Powell (Sr., GK); Jaxon Higgins (Sr., D); Iago Rohloff (Sr., F); Ethyn Tyson (Sr., D); Patrick Cummings (Sr., MF); Josh Khoudary (Sr., F); Jeff Fitzjohn (Jr., MF); Evan Harbaugh (So., F).
Others to watch: Grady Wolver (So., MF); Cole Manuel (So. F); Blake Nemeth (So., D); Samuel Falk (So. MF); Evam Hutson (Fr., F).
Outlook: The Tigers are looking to take another step forward in their fifth year as a program. Said Vigil: “We return a good group who have played in our system for a year, and (we) have a good crop of young talent. We are still a growing program but hope to compete for a top spot in the league and advance in the state playoffs.” Erie had 50 players in tryouts this season, said Vigil. The Tigers finished tied for second in league last season.
Coach: Jeff Frykholm (fourth year)
Last year: 12-6 overall; 8-4 5A Front Range
Returning starters: Sajji Singh (Sr., MF); Wyatt Sales (Sr., D); Sam Siewierski (Sr., MF); Myles Ellis (Sr., F); Cooper Harmon (Sr., F).
Others to watch: Will Hartman (Jr., MF); Jake Ketchner (Jr., D); Taylor Vrencur (Jr., D).
Outlook: The Knights finished only fifth in the Front Range League and yet they were one of the final eight teams standing in the 5A state playoffs. This year, Fairview hopes to climb even deeper into the postseason with a number of key players returning from last year’s run. “(We) should be particularly strong in midfield, where (we) are led by three-year varsity standout Sajji Singh,” Frykholm said.
Coach: J Doehring (fifth season)
Last year: 4-11 overall, 2-5 4A Tri-Valley
Returning starters: Abraham Soto (Sr.); Edwin Hernandez (Sr.); Kike Barrera (Sr.); Chris Vang (Sr.); Isreal Mares (Sr.); Mauricio Avalos (Jr.); Wyatt Schroth (So.); Tony Garcia (So.); Jadon Jones (Jr.).
Others to watch: Zane Doehring (Fr.); Justin Livingston (So.); Calvin Vang (Jr.).
Outlook: The Warriors didn’t graduate a player from last season and only lost one player from the 2017 roster, said Doehring. That’s good news for a team hoping to up their win total. Doehring said his team has a good number of fourth-year seniors and a decent freshman class, all hoping to help turn the tide.
HOLY FAMILY TIGERS
Coach: David Martinez (first year)
Last year: 8-8 overall; 5-2 4A Tri-Valley
Returning starters: Jimmy Sines (Sr.); Jake Hulquest (Sr.).
Others to watch: Liam Burns (So.); Darin Chavers (Sr.); Abel Campos (Sr.); Isaac Rupprecht (Jr.); Cody Chavers (Jr.); Cole Greany (Jr.); Ryan Carter (Sr.).
Outlook: With 10 seniors on roster, the Tigers are hoping they have the experience and talent to compete for a state title. On the back end, Burns takes his turn in net. He had 10 saves and one goal allowed in 80 minutes last year. The Tigers finished tied for second in league last year and fell in the first round of the Class 4A state tournament.
JEFFERSON ACADEMY JAGUARS
Coach: Matt Cassell (eighth season)
Last year: 16-1-1 overall; 7-0-1 3A Metro (league champions)
Returning starters: Paddy Binns (Sr., MF); Payton Tennal (Sr., F); Ian Coen (Sr., F); Colton Ingalls (Sr., F); James Spitz (So., D).
Others to watch: Grant Anderson (Sr., MF); David Strasbaugh (Jr., MF); Josh Hare (Sr., D).
Outlook: Jefferson Academy went undefeated through the regular season and didn’t lose until Nov. 4 — 2-1 against Liberty Common in the 3A state quarterfinals. Cassell said the Jags have a tougher schedule this season and the goal is to reach the playoffs, then “see if we can put a good run together.”
Coach: Tony Romano (10th year)
Last year: 11-5-1 overall, 8-3-1 5A Front Range
Returning starters: Ivan Castillo (Sr., GK); Brandon Hansen (Jr., GK); Noah Stover (Sr., F); Logan Scheller (Sr., D); Ben Tuka (Sr., D); Jordan Swinhart (Sr., D); Joey Joiner (Jr., F).
Others to watch: Jake Maurek (Jr. MF); Blake Hansen (Jr. F).
Outlook: Legacy finished fourth in an ultra-competitive 5A Front Range League and went on to reach the state’s round of 16 for a third season in a row. The Lightning graduated eight seniors but are excited for what they can do in 2018. Said Romano, “We have a strong core of returning players, as well as some exciting new additions who are all ready and willing to contribute to the team in its attempt to do well in the Front Range League and make some noise in the playoffs.”
Coach: Andy Callaway (second year)
Last year: 3-10-3 overall; 2-3-2 4A Northern
Returning starters: Isaac Chavarria (Sr., MF); Jaime Rivas (Jr., F); Aidan Wegner (Jr., MF/D).
Others to watch: Dakota Richards (Sr., MF/D); Lucas Oxley (Sr., MF/D); Bryan Saenz (So., MF/F); Teagan Fregosi (Fr. D); Henry Erickson (Sr., MF); Ethan Campbell (Jr., MF/F).
Outlook: The Trojans will replace all but three starters from last year. Longmont will be young, but Callaway believes his team has the talent and drive to reach the postseason for a fourth straight season.
Coach: Shane Adler (third season)
Last year: 0-15 overall; 0-7 4A Tri-Valley
Returning starters: Diego Cordero (So., MF); Sawyer Parker (So., MF); Wyatt Sears ( Sr., D); Hector Contreras (Jr., D).
Others to watch: Tanner McIntosh (So., MF); Josh Vavla (Jr., D); Bryce Martin (Sr., MF); Josh Kurtz (Fr., MF); Hayden Monro (Jr., GK); Rocky Bortz (So., MF); Jimmy Shields (Sr., F).
Outlook: Mead, who went winless in 2017, will drop down to 3A this season due to the state’s classification shuffle. Said Adler: “We look to continue to build the program with a core of young players. We look forward to having the opportunity to represent our school and our community.”
Coach: Balen Arenas (second season)
Last year: 8-7-1 overall; 5-6-1 5A Front Range
Returning starters: Blake Barber (Sr., D); Thomas Volpe (Sr., MF); Elliot Konecnik (Sr., MF); Hank Dalle-Molle (Sr., GK).
Others to watch: Nate Bricker (Jr., MF); Cal Brynestad (Sr., MF); Jack Tater (Sr., MF).
Outlook: The Coyotes lost 17 seniors from a year ago, so they will be searching for returning and new players to step into bigger roles in 2018. Arenas hopes his team can be a top-five team in league and win at least a game in the postseason.
Coach: Alberto Gonzalez (first year)
Last year: No stats
Returning starters: None.
Others to watch: None.
Outlook: A lot of blank spaces need of filling out for the Panthers, who dropped their football program after the 2017 season and added soccer. “Hopes are high,” Nederland athletic director Rick Elertson said.
Coach: Stephen Dimit (third year)
Last year: 15-2-2 overall; 5-1-1 4A Northern
Returning starters: Jesus “Chuy” Gonzales (Sr., MF); Jonathan Jimenez-Flores (Sr., F); Mario Munoz (Sr., GK); Manny Tapia (Sr., F); Jared Osteen (Jr., MF).
Others to watch: Aidan Martin (So., F), Keegan Stobbe (So., F).
Outlook: The Cougars need some of their young players to fill key roles after losing 12 seniors from last year. Three-year starters Gonzales and Munoz will anchor a team that is no doubt eager to get back to the state playoffs, a place where they finished just shy of the state title game in 2017.
PEAK TO PEAK PUMAS
Coach: James Davies (first year)
Last year: 9-7-1 overall; 5-3-1 3A Metro
Returning starters: Logan Collins (So., MF); Omar Lemus (Sr., F); Reid Dimond (Sr., D); Trey Klinger (So., MF); John Douthit (Sr., F); Jon Gruener (Sr., D); Michael Chewning (Sr., MF); Garrett Jackson (So., F); Vykas Muralidharan (So., MF); Erik Colin Rios (Jr., D/MF).
Others to watch: Luke Crotty (Fr., MF); Caden Gundrum (Fr., MF); Domenic DeCaro (Fr., MF); Shawn Mather (So., D); Jack Begley (So., D).
Outlook: The Pumas are in transition after longtime athletic director Peter Chandler stepped down last year. Peak to Peak also lost 10 seniors from last year’s team, which reached the second round of the state playoffs.
PROSPECT RIDGE ACADEMY MINERS
Coach: Todd Schoeder (fourth year)
Last year: 6-8-1 overall; 2-5-1 3A Metro
Returning starters: Sebastian Boysen (Sr., MF); Aiden Brasov (Sr., MF); Bryson Cuss (Sr., MF); Hudson Highfield (Sr., F); Brandon Huffman (Sr., D); Michael Mote (Jr., MF); Michael Ungacta (So., D); Ben Williams (Sr., D).
Others to watch: Reyn Rillman (Fr., MF); Aaron Donohoe (So., MF); Logan Webster (So., MF); Andrew Cuss (Fr., GK).
Outlook: Prospect Ridge Academy is in its third year as a varsity soccer program and is looking to take another stride forward. Schoeder said his team is strong through the midfield with “several key players returning for their fourth year.” Although tough, Schoeder said the Miners are “aiming for a state bid” with eight returning starters and two standout freshmen on roster.
SILVER CREEK RAPTORS
Coach: Rob Johnson (third year)
Last year: 11-4-2 overall; 4-2-1 4A Northern Third in league and lost in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.
Returning starters: Dylan Weiss (Jr.); Simon Gerlach (Jr.); Jace Carson (Jr.); Ross Bosley (Jr.); Jacob Van Ens (Jr.); Jake Levin (Jr.).
Others to watch: Aidan Lantaff (Sr.); Jorge Morales (Sr.).
Outlook: The Raptors are looking to compete for a league title and go deep into the state playoffs, said Johnson. They return six starters and get back Lantaff, who missed last year with an injury.
Coach: Luis Chavez (eighth year)
Last year: 14-2-2 overall, 7-0 4A Tri-Valley (league champs)
Returning starters: Diego Chavez (Jr., GK); Diego Arredondo (Jr., GK); Ryan Primeau (Sr., D/MF), Hector Rubi (Sr.., D/MF); Nathan Wanninger (Sr., D/MF/F); Faolan Moore (Sr., MF/F); Kevin Gutierrez (Sr., MF/F); Hugo Rodriguez (Sr., D/MF); Ben Kalisher (D, MF); Brandon Bañuelos (Sr., D/MF); Fabian Vasquez (D/MF/F), Emmanuel Flores Reyes (Sr., D/MF/F)
Others to watch: Riley Primeau (So., GK); Gabe Sosa (Jr. D/MF/F); Orlando Quiroz (Sr., D/MF); Salvador Medrano (Jr., D/MF/F); Josue Mena (Sr., D/MF/F); Orlando Barron (Sr., MF/F).
Outlook: Skyline has had winning seasons in each of Chavez’s seven years ahead of the program. Last year, the Falcons made noise in the state playoffs and took eventual Class 4A champion Air Academy to overtime in the 4A state quarterfinals before bowing out. Chavez said his team lost a lot of veterans to graduation and hopes a few new faces will step up to fill their roles. “The program lost several seniors who did a tremendous job on their way out, leaving no choice for our incoming team and players to get ready and work extremely hard to attempt to reach the bar of expectation set last year as the program continues to show improvement,” Chavez said.
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