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Boys soccer: Fairview meets challenge, beats Boulder

Knights make statement Saturday night with late flurry

Fairview boys soccer is still the top dog of Boulder, at least for now, after the rivals got their long awaited matchup in the books on Saturday night.

Facing each other for the first time in a year and a half at Christian Recht Field, the Class 5A No. 3-ranked Knights (6-0-1) took down No. 5 Boulder (4-2-1) by a 3-1 score in a crosstown battle. Aside from a 60-second window that saw two quick Fairview goals, the match could have gone to anyone as the Knights and Panthers saw fairly level gameplay.

“Any win is always great, but over Boulder is just that much more special,” junior midfielder McKenzie Mazur said.

That short Boulder defensive breakdown, however, cost the hosts their chance at a much-needed Front Range League win.

Fairview relied on a strong performance from sophomore keeper Shane Williams to keep the Panthers at bay, whereas Boulder put its faith in junior keeper Evan Sims. Both keepers showed plenty of grit to keep the score low by game’s end.

The game was originally slated for March 22, but out of respect for the victims of the Table Mesa King Soopers shooting, the teams opted to postpone the affair.

Throughout much of the first half, the Knights and Panthers enjoyed fairly even competition. The momentum, however, swung constantly. Fairview would control the pace of the game for 10 minutes, then Boulder would spend the next 10 pressuring Williams.

Boulder nearly earned the first advantage of the game about 10 minutes into play when junior Calvin Pielke drew Williams out so much that the two collided in the box. Just before that, he skyrocketed the ball right over the net. No go.

That first-goal honor belonged to Fairview.

In the 18th minute, the Knights broke through the barrier that the Boulder defense had relied on to that point. Junior midfielder Layne Weeks dribbled the ball to the left side of the goal, drew Sims farther into the box and catapulted the ball into the back right corner of the net from about 10 yards out.

In the final five minutes of the first half, Boulder started pressuring Williams more and more. The Fairview keeper, however, stayed solid and composed in the face of adversity. The Knights held the 1-0 lead going into the break.

Once the clock restarted for the second half, Fairview nearly had the chance to increase its lead. In the 42nd minute, Mazur shot the ball right into the crossbar. That miss and subsequent Panther possession worked out quite well for the home team.

The Panthers quickly took advantage of the momentum shift when, two minutes later, sophomore Cameron Gerber snuck a goal into the back left corner of Williams’ net. Tie game.

That didn’t last long.

The Knights, clearly bothered by the possibility of a draw, sent their offense into overdrive. In the 52nd minute, Mazur gave his team the lead when he sent the ball right over Sims’ head and into the back of the goal. Not one minute later, senior defender Henrik Helmig added to Fairview’s lead.

“The energy is always fun. It’s super fun to compete out here. It’s unfortunate that we got the loss, but it’s always exciting to be out on our home field,” Gerber said. “It’s always a battle. … They make us better. They make us want to fight and work harder at practice.”

Boulder spent the last 28 minutes trying its hardest to break the deficit and earn its way back into contention. Fairview’s defense, however, wouldn’t let them gain an inch.

With the major victory now behind it, Fairview will head to Mountain Range next on Tuesday at 6 p.m. as Boulder travels to Poudre for a 6:30 p.m. kickoff on the same night.