DENVER | The Regis Jesuit boys soccer team had a tremendous advantage when it came to offensive and dangerous chances during the run of play in Tuesday evening’s Class 5A state semifinal contest at CIBER Field.
But the ninth-seeded Raiders were unable to put any of them in the back of the net in 110 minutes and so their contest with fourth-seeded and defending state champion Denver East went to shootout that often favors the team with less offensive push.
That was the case, as the Angels converted all five of their penalty kick opportunities and the Raiders made three out of the four they attempted to earn the spot in Saturday’s 6 p.m. 5A state championship game at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs.
Coach Rick Wolf’s Regis Jesuit team had a five-game winning streak snapped finished the season 13-3-3. The Raiders topped No. 24 Horizon 2-0 in the postseason opener, followed that with a 1-0 victory over No. 8 Cherry Creek in the second round and rolled past No. 16 Liberty 4-1 in the quarterfinals.
Regis Jesuit reached the round of eight for the first time since a run to the final in 2019, while it also won the Continental League championship and went 2-0 for the first time in its annual trip to the Jesuit Classic.
The Raiders had their chances to extend the season, but couldn’t find a way to get one past Denver East keeper Liam Sloan.
Junior Jack De Simone — who had four postseason goals in three playoff games thus far, including two in a quarterfinal win over Liberty a few days earlier — had several chances, including a shot that kissed off the crossbar and went out in the closing minutes of regulation.
The Raiders dominated the midfield and had much more consistent pressure, while the Angels looked for quick counters and mounted very little sustained attack. With nothing going into the net against Sloan or Regis Jesuit’s Thayer White — who made a clutch diving save on a breakaway in the second overtime — it left the result of the game up to a best-of-five penalty shootout.
Senior Joseph Bennett and junior Charles Sharp converted their chances for the Raiders as each team made their first two, but after Denver East went up 3-2, Sloan saved junior Stefan Zehnacker’s attempt.
Another Angels conversion was followed by a score by junior Sebastian Campos and Denver East sealed it with a fifth successful kick, leaving Regis Jesuit players slumped over in disbelief.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter/X: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2023 CLASS 5A BOYS SOCCER PLAYOFFS (semifinals)
Denver East 0, Regis Jesuit 0 (Denver East wins 5-3 on PKs)
Score by halves:
Regis Jesuit 0 0 0 0 (3) — 0
Denver East 0 0 0 0 (5) — 0