Fairview boys soccer made the trip across town to go to battle with Boulder in the Class 5A state semifinals.
The year was 2010, and Fairview soccer was a perennial powerhouse that Boulder had to take down if it wanted to make it to the semis. The Panthers didn’t disappoint, winning 3-1 in front of a crowd of 5,000 at Recht Field.
“The line to get into the game went all the way out to Arapahoe (Avenue) from the bridge,” head coach Hardy Kalisher said.
That marquis match began a tradition that turned Boulder soccer into its own perennial powerhouse, one that has won two state championships since 2012 and makes postseason appearances regularly.
Last week, in the top-5 matchup between No. 2 Boulder and No. 4 Cherry Creek, Kalisher secured his 200th win at the helm of the Boulder program with a 3-2 victory, one that proved sweet in the years since Kalisher’s first face-to-face with the Bruins as head coach in 2006.
“My first season, when I took over the program, Boulder High had not been a competitive program for many years and our very first season, we went down to Cherry Creek and we lost 9-0,” Kalisher recalled. “To look up all these years later and get that 200th win against a program like Cherry Creek, which is always such a competitive game and very contrasting in styles, it felt good, especially since they knocked us out of the playoffs last year.”
The game became just one of many that Kalisher looks back upon with pride. But no season can match that of 2016.
The Panthers stayed rock-solid through 20 games and showed incredible grit when it came down to the 5A state championship game. Broomfield’s Eagles gave the Panthers their best shot, literally, when the match ended with 14 penalty kick rounds.
Boulder still reigned at the end of that marathon, much to Broomfield coach Jim Davidson’s chagrin.
“I both look forward to (playing Boulder) and I dread it because I know how good of a team he’s going to have year in and year out and how strong of a coach Hardy is,” Davidson said. “It is always a battle. It always seems like it comes down to a goal. It always comes down to late in the match.”
Boulder, now 4-0, is gearing up for its biggest battle yet in the 2021 season.
The second-ranked Panthers proved their stock against Cherry Creek and now they must prove that they can hang with the literal best of the best when No. 1 Castle View comes to town on Saturday night.
Maybe, just maybe, the line from Recht Field will stretch out to Arapahoe Avenue again to witness another feather in Kalisher’s cap.
“All these wins are just a testament to the quality of young men that I’m able to coach over the years,” Kalisher said. “There’s a lot of amazing stories with those wins and also on the flip side, some great lessons learned on some losses that helped build a program that can win that many games in those years.”