For 65 of the 80 minutes of the opening round 5A playoff game, the 24th-ranked Liberty boys soccer program laid out a stunning scene at an icy cold Monarch High School, pouring on goals en route to a five-goal lead against the hometown ninth-seeded Coyotes.

As close to over as warranted in high school sports — shivers then turned to sweats.

A spontaneous Monarch comeback bid redirected a laugher into a stress ball as the Coyotes scored three goals in nine minutes and narrowly missed on several others. The Lancers’ runaway victory had become a jailbreak escape from Louisville.

That’s playoff soccer.

Liberty became one of two 20-something seeds to advance out of the opening round in 5A last week, with No. 27 Rocky Mountain being the other.

In this week’s look at boys soccer, we’ll take a look at a few of the surprise teams from each classification headed into the next round.


Class 5A (Round 2)

No. 24 Liberty Lancers: Perhaps the 24 seed seems a bit inflated for a team that held its own in a tough 5A Colorado Springs Metro League. At least it proved as much in the opening round.

Now the Lancers get a “redo” against one of the two teams that shut out their high-powered offense this season, No. 8 Ralston Valley.

Losing 2-0 to the Mustangs on Sept. 15, they come into the rematch with four or more goals in four of their last six games.

No. 27 Rocky Mountain: The Front Range League-representative Lobos proved redemption in Round 1, beating Arapahoe after losing to the Warriors earlier in the season.

Now they get league-foe Fossil Ridge (No. 11) for a second time.

Losing to the Sabercats 2-0 earlier in the month, the Lobos are coming off a game where they were out-chanced but prevailed anyway. Merlin Kautz’s second-half goal was the winner.

No. 17 Castle View: The Sabercats were ranked second in the CHSAA coaches poll to begin the season. Now they get a chance to dethrone the No. 1 some 2 ½ months later.

Castle View will travel to top-ranked Legacy after beating No. 16 Fort Collins in an opening round shootout.
If it hopes to pull off a second straight upset, it will need to contain uber-scorer Cooper Stephens, who had nine of his 17 goals in October.

Class 4A (Round 2)

No. 32 Coronado: A Cinderella team in every sense of the term, No. 32 beat No. 1 Durango to open the postseason.
Graysen Crawford scored his fifth goal in nine days, lifting the Cougars past the previously undefeated Demons.

They’ll face No. 16 Battle Mountain, which has lost just once since Sept. 20.

No. 28 Pueblo Centennial: The Bulldogs opened the postseason with a two-goal win over No. 5 George Washington, which had won 12 of 13 to open the season. Michael Ceyrolles scored his 13th and 14th goals in the win. Victor Quintana added his 15th.

They’ll face another tournament surprise in No. 21 Eagle Valley, which knocked off No. 12 The Classical Academy in the first round.

Strength-vs.-strength, the Bulldogs have seven players with at least six goals this fall. The Devils, meanwhile, have allowed just 13 goals all season.

No. 23 Steamboat Springs: The Sailors lost five of six earlier in the season. With their penalty kicks win over No. 10 Grand Junction, they’re now winners of five of their last six.

Peaking at the right time, they’ll face Longs Peak League champ No. 7 Niwot. To pull off a second consecutive upset, they’ll likely need more from their leading scorer Charlie Reisman, who has 10 goals and six assists this season.


Class 3A (Round 2)

No. 22 Middle Park: Corbin Solomon is a threat to do something special with every touch. He has 17 goals and 19 assists this fall, including two and a helper in an upset win over No. 11 DSST: College View in the playoff opener.

The Panthers next get No. 6 KIPP Denver Collegiate. The White — not yellow — Tigers beat them 4-0 Aug. 20.

No. 19 Faith Christian: The Eagles’ season turnaround continued with a 2-1 win over No. 14 DSST: Conservatory Green in the opening round.

Faith Christian started the season 2-5-2 — a robust schedule that included 5A No. 1 Legacy, 3A No. 1 Colorado Academy, No. 2 Jefferson Academy and No. 10 Kent Denver — but has gone 5-2 since.

It travels to No. 3 Coal Ridge in the second round.

No. 20 Aurora West College Prep Academy: The Spartans didn’t lose a game last month, outscoring teams 15-3.
Beating No. 13 Rifle in the opener, they come into Round 2 with multiple goals in all but one game this season. They face No. 4 Liberty Common, which has allowed just eight goals this fall and just two since Sept. 17.


Class 2A (semifinals)

No. 6 Lotus School for Excellence: The Meteors beat No. 11 Telluride in the opening round, followed by No. 3 Thomas MacLaren in the quarterfinals.

A big reason for it is Fredy Peraza, who is second in goals scored in Colorado with 38.

They’ll likely need a lot more from him as they face No. 2 Bishop Machebeuf, which has outscored teams 117-9 this fall.

No. 5 Crested Butte: Well, this isn’t really a surprise team. Just the only other team remaining not No. 1 or 2.
Winners of three of the four Class 2A state titles, the Titans head into their matchup with No. 1 Vail Mountain led by reigning class player of the year Jacob Bernholtz.

They’ll look to redeem their 2-0 loss to the Gore Rangers from Sept. 6.