ENGLEWOOD | The type of team that has presented the big challenge to the Cherokee Trail boys soccer team — a physical one with a direct style — stood between the Cougars and program history Saturday at Randy Penn Stadium.
Coach Mark Hill’s seventh-seeded team had earned its way into the Class 5A quarterfinals for the second time in program history, but faced a tall challenge in No. 2 Denver East, a team with size throughout its lineup that goes right at its opponents.
The 16-1-1 Angels were able to set the tone with a set piece goal early in the contest and went on to a 5-0 victory that put them into the semifinals, where they will face No. 3 Valor Christian (17-0-1) on Nov. 9 at Englewood High School.
The other semifinal contest pits No. 8 Ralston Valley (13-5) — fresh off an upset of No. 1 Legacy — against No. 12 Fairview (12-5-1).
Updated Class 5A boys soccer state scoreboard & schedule, here
Cherokee Trail — which arrived in the quarterfinals with a 3-0 victory over Chatfield in the first round and 3-1 win over Rampart in the second round — had its season come to an end with a 13-5 record.
Two of the Cougars’ losses came to teams in the semifinals (which also includes a 2-1 loss to Valor Christian) and another came to rival Grandview, which was defeated by Denver East in the opening round.
Denver East got on the scoreboard first when forward Nathan Howard got his head on a initial header from a corner kick service and redirected it just past the outstretched arms of Cherokee Trail senior keeper Colin Starr into the back of the net.
The Cougars generated a prime chance to tie it several minutes later when sophomore Peter Eugenio Deras — who was tied with senior Amman Muzaffar for the team lead with eight goals, including three in the postseason — dribbled around outcoming Denver East keeper Liam Sloan, but his cross in front of an open goal was redicted out of bounds by a recovering Angels’ defender. Cherokee Trail never got a shot on the ensuing free kick.
Denver East leading scorer Gus Sundstrom doubled the lead when he finished a slip pass from teammate Tayler Secrest for a 2-0 lead at halftime.
The Angels added goals in the second half from Sundstrom, Ezekiel Lubin and Clayton Thomas.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2022 CLASS 5A BOYS SOCCER QUARTERFINALS
Nov. 5 at Randy Penn Stadium, Englewood H.S.
(2) DENVER EAST 5, (7) CHEROKEE TRAIL 0
Score by halves:
Cherokee Trail 0 0 — 0
Denver East 2 3 — 5
Denver East — Nathan Howard (Theo Scott), 6th minute
Denver East — Gus Sundstrom (Tayler Secrest), 34th minute
Denver East — Sundstrom, 63rd minute
Denver East — Ezekiel Lubin, 66th minute
Denver East — Clayton Thomas, 71st minute