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Boys soccer: Boulder smacks Fort Collins in joyful affair

Gerber’s improbable hat trick highlights tremendous team effort

BOULDER, CO - SEPTEMBER 6: Boulder High School's Cameron Gerber (No. 10) celebrates his third goal against Fort Collins High School at Recht Field in Boulder on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)
BOULDER, CO – SEPTEMBER 6: Boulder High School’s Cameron Gerber (No. 10) celebrates his third goal against Fort Collins High School at Recht Field in Boulder on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

One-hundred eighty-seven seconds.

That’s all the time Boulder’s senior midfielder, Cameron Gerber, needed to complete his hat trick at the start of the second half at Recht Field on Tuesday night. His three consecutive scores, along with a couple from sophomore forward Xander Sevian, opened the floodgates for Class 5A’s fifth-ranked program in a dominant 6-1 win over Fort Collins, the latter which had dropped out of CHSAANow.com’s rankings earlier in the day.

Prior to the game, Sevian and Gerber both had two goals to their names. All they needed was a little bit of exhilaration.

“In the locker room, our coach said, ‘There’s nothing more joyful than scoring a goal,’” Gerber said. “So he said, ‘Let’s be happy. Let’s score a goal and let’s all celebrate.’ And once the first one came, the rest came after that and the whole team kind of fed off each other.”

There was certainly plenty of celebration to go around, marking all the way down to the 77th minute, when senior midfielder Muhanned Sasi added his name to the final scoring tally. The win felt like a breakthrough for a team that’s spent the last few weeks searching for their attacking piece and their rhythm.

While the decision from Tuesday night’s contest seemed like a breeze for the Panthers, simply by looking at the final score, the first 40 minutes were anything but. Boulder consistently tested Lambkins keeper Brogan Eubank, who had been called up from junior varsity, but the young player hardly let anything get past him. The only ball that did, a sneaky shot from Sevian, was blocked by Fort Collins’ Layton Khankanian from inside the goal.

Boulder’s defense took care of the rest.

“I think our defense has been stellar so far this season,” said senior defender Calvin Boykoff, who stopped a few late goal attempts from the Lambkins. “Dale Boyer, a junior, didn’t come to any of the summer trainings, showed up to tryouts and he’s probably one of my favorite players I’ve played with. He’s so reliable all the time.

Boulder High School's Fynn Koonz (No. ...
Boulder High School’s Fynn Koonz (No. 15) heads the ball over Fort Collins High School’s Ethan Arabasz (No. 19) at Recht Field in Boulder on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. (Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer)

“And then Victor (Torres), our right back, he’s just a tank. He’s a little guy, but he’s got that dog in him. … And then Kevin (Botello) just is rock solid. Tyler (Dove), our goalie, made some great saves. He subbed in for Owen Kalisher because Owen got a red card last game, and I think Tyler just really banded us together and we’re all just one defensive unit.”

Few things will come easy for Boulder boys soccer this season, but that’s just the way head coach Hardy Kalisher likes it.

Boulder had dropped one spot in the Class 5A poll on Tuesday as fellow Front Range League teams Legacy, Broomfield and Fairview claimed the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 spots in the classification, respectively.

While the Panthers will get to test their skills against those other top programs in back-to-back-to-back meetings in a couple of weeks, they’ve already seen some stiff competition in 2022. Earlier in the season, they collected wins against Castle View, then ranked No. 2 in 5A, and 4A’s current second-ranked Silver Creek — both by one-goal margins. Their only loss came at the hands of No. 3 Valor Christian.

The Panthers improved to 3-1-1 with the Fort Collins victory, but their commanding performance proved to be the outlier in their schedule to date. No other contest has been decided by more than a goal.

Now, they’ll look to improve upon their stock even more when they host Salesianum, a squad from Wilmington, Del., on Sept. 15.

“The first half, the quality of soccer, it was really at a high level,” coach Kalisher said. “We were moving it creatively, great movements off the ball. We’ve been training for that and trying to get it to click. It was beautiful Boulder soccer in the first half but the final piece is scoring the goals. The challenge for them at halftime really was to bring a little bit more emotion in the final piece and they really feel it from the heart.

“We have that depth and so it’s just finding the right combination. I think we’re doing that last game and this game and we’ll just continue to find more and more rhythm and chemistry.”

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