This week’s CHSAA coaches’ polls welcomes new No. 1s to three of the four classifications in boys soccer.
Valor Christian, winners of five straight, replaced Legacy for the top spot in 5A. Liberty Common moved into the driver’s seat in 3A and Vail Mountain headlined 2A despite losing last week.
For our look into the sport this week, let’s look at the rankings that seem accurate and the ones that feel a bit questionable.
Accurate: Monarch at No. 10.
The Coyotes (7-1) haven’t had a winning season since 2017 and are just two seasons removed from a winless 2021 spring campaign. But, ‘who cares?’ as that all seems out the window when looking at their resume in 2022.
Not only is Monarch’s lone loss of the fall to a 4A juggernaut in Silver Creek, but it also has some solid wins smattered about.
Last week, budding star Sean Kendall had four goals as the Coyotes beat Front Range League teams Mountain Range and Horizon a combined 12-2.
Now to their biggest tests of the season: Their next four games are against No. 2 Legacy, No. 3 Boulder, No. 8 Fairview and No. 4 Broomfield.
Questionable: Boulder at No. 3.
The Panthers beat last week’s No. 1, Legacy, on the road behind three remarkable goals. Then they outlasted crosstown rival Fairview 1-0 behind a strong performance from keeper Owen Kalisher.
Those results alone could’ve moved them a little higher this week.
For now, Boulder (5-2-1) sits behind the Lightning — a team it dominated in the opening half and rallied to beat in the final minutes — as well as No. 1 Valor Christian, which handed it a 1-0 loss last month.
The Panthers have the makings of a title contender, and maybe a favorite. They have perhaps the classification’s best player in Cameron Gerber, a longtime coach in Hardy Kalisher that has reached the 5A peak before, and a line of talented scorers at their disposal — the likes of Logan Sims, Milo Toutenhoofd and Xander Sevian, among others.
So far, 11 different players have recorded at least a point in the team’s 17 goals this season.
But nothing gets easier in the FRL South. Boulder hosts No. 4 Broomfield Thursday and is at No. 10 Monarch Oct. 3.
Accurate: Durango at No. 1.
Maybe the surest of the top-ranked teams in the state, the Demons are 10-0 on the season and have won by multiple goals in all but one of those games.
While the knock against the Demons could be that they have zero wins against any current top 10 teams in 4A, they’re downright bullying of teams in 2022 speaks to their (very good) title hopes.
Last week, reigning Southwestern League player of the year Cedar Newman scored his 10th goal of the season as they beat Montrose 5-1. They’ve now outscored teams 59-7 this season.
Questionable: Conifer, unranked.
What do the Lobos need to do to crack into the top 10? Or get even close?
At 8-0 this season, Conifer is the eighth team outside the rankings this week. While none of its wins has come against top-10 talent, the Lobos have expertly handled their schedule to this point, outscoring teams 38-7.
Maddox Rife has led the way with 10 goals and seven assists.
Accurate: Coal Ridge at No. 2.
The Titans (6-1-1) have beaten every 3A team on their schedule, including a 3-1 win over defending champ Roaring Fork on Sept. 15.
They’re also led by one of the classification’s most productive players in Ezra Williams, who has 13 goals and has scored in all eight of his team’s games. Last week, Williams had six goals in two games, including five in an 11-1 mercy-rule win over Moffat County.
Looking ahead, it meets 2A top-ranked Vail Mountain Oct. 7.
Questionable: Roaring Fork at No. 6.
The defending champs (4-2) haven’t gotten the benefit of the doubt in the rankings this season. And maybe that’s how they like it (won the title as an 11 seed in 2021).
True, they lost by multiple goals in consecutive games to No. 2 Coal Ridge and 1-seed Liberty Common. But their response last week could’ve sent them higher than sixth in the class: Beating 2A No. 1 Vail Mountain and 4A Glenwood Springs.
For the Rams, four players have more than 10 points in just six games. Foster Hayes leads the way with eight goals and four assists.
Roaring Fork is at Basalt Tuesday and is home against 2A defending champ Crested Butte Friday.
Accurate: Loveland Classical at No. 4.
The biggest jump inside the 2A top 10 this week belonged to the Lions, who are 8-2 and a perfect 5-0 in the Mile High West League.
When measuring their losses this season, they’re on the ‘not bad at all’ category. One came to No. 2 Thomas MacLaren in the season opener, and the other was against 3A No. 7 Frontier Academy earlier in the month.
Last week, Loveland Classical shut out 3A Berthoud and Dawson a combined 6-0. It has outscored teams by 36 (46-10) this season.
Questionable: Crested Butte at No. 6.
It’s hard to believe five teams are better than the program that has won three of the state’s four 2A titles. Not to mention, they returned the classification’s player of the year in Jacob Bernholtz.
Maybe. But history, long ago and not so long ago, speaks for itself.
At 8-2, the Titans’ lone loss in the class came to No. 1 Vail Mountain on Sept. 6. Since then, they have won five straight while outscoring teams 33-2.
Bernholtz currently has 18 goals this season. Fellow-senior Jamis Matlock, meanwhile, has 12 goals and 12 assists.
This Friday, Crested Butte travels to 3A defending champ Roaring Fork.