Boulder Daily Camera file photo
LONGMONT – It’s always more fun when a regular season league title is decided by a head-to-head matchup between two premier soccer clubs.
Well, “fun” might not be the best descriptor for Tuesday’s showdown between the Silver Creek and Niwot boys soccer teams. Difficult, challenging or tough might be more accurate.
But on a ridiculously windy evening at Silver Creek, the No. 4-ranked Raptors won a 1-0 contest that was decided by a penalty kick and locked up their second consecutive Northern League championship.
“It was two good teams going at each other for the league title so we were both fighting hard,” Raptors senior Dylan Weiss said. “It was cool that I ended up getting that PK there and we ended up winning 1-0 because they’re a good team and that was not an easy win for us. It raises the stakes a little bit with us both being undefeated and it being a Niwot versus Silver Creek rivalry so we’re happy to come out on top.”
With one more nonconference game against Brighton remaining on the schedule, the Raptors (11-1-2, 7-0) entered Tuesday’s game fourth in the RPI standings. Barring a surprising upheaval at the top of the Class 4A RPI, Tuesday’s win should also cement Silver Creek among the top five teams in the state and as a host team once the postseason begins.
The game was the regular-season finale for Niwot (10-5, 6-1) and the Cougars will likely finish as a top 20 team in the RPI.
“I was hoping for a better game than that,” Niwot head coach Stephen Dimit said. “But credit to Creek because they got to every ball and they worked really hard for it. We’ll just kind of figure out where this puts us and we’ll go from there.”
The unusually high crosswinds throughout Tuesday’s game significantly impacted the game and didn’t allow either team to fully execute a typical game plan or settle into a normal pace of play. But even though the game came down to a penalty kick, the win was still a satisfying one for the Raptors.
“This is the third league championship for this senior group so we’re really proud of that,” Silver Creek head coach Rob Johnson said. “The negative of the wind is that both teams try to play very composed soccer and it just killed both teams and turned it into kind of an ugly game. It was still competitive between two good teams but without the wind it would have been a little better soccer.”
Both Niwot and Silver Creek reached the second round of the state tournament last season. The Colorado High School Activities Association seeding committee meets on Monday and the 4A state tournament’s first round will begin on Wednesday.