AURORA | Six Aurora boys soccer teams take the first step of what they hope are many in the Class 5A state tournament Thursday.
A day after the Colorado High School Activities Association released the full 32-team field, game times were set for the three home contests and three road affairs involving city teams in the postseason’s opening round.
All three of Aurora’s first round hosts — No. 7 Grandview, No. 11 Rangeview and No. 15 Regis Jesuit — picked 6 p.m. start times for their contests, while No. 17 Cherokee Trail, No. 27 Aurora Central and No. 29 Gateway play on the road a various times.
The newly-instituted RPI rankings for playoff qualifying allowed teams to track their position in the postseason field virtually every day, so there weren’t many surprises when the seedings came out.
Grandview coach Brian Wood saw his team rise a few spots in the RPI until the Wolves (who won five of their last six games to finish 11-2-2) finished in the No. 7 spot. Grandview welcomes No. 26 Fruita Monument (7-6-2) to Legacy Stadium in a game tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. according to Wood.
The Wolves finished third in the Centennial League behind Cherry Creek and Arapahoe (No. 3 and 6, respectively) and Wood felt his team’s position was a fair spot considering its regular season performance. Grandview just got back senior Erik Lundeen — a first team All-Centennial League performer last season — from injury in the final week of the regular season.
Boosted by a 3-0 win over rival Gateway, Rangeview wrapped up an undefeated run through the EMAC and comes into the postseason off a 1-0 loss to undefeated and top-seeded Denver East in its regular season finale.
Coach Vic Strouse’s Raiders welcome in an 8-7 Greeley West team that is seeded No. 22 for a 6 p.m. contest at Aurora Public Schools Stadium.
With a fifth-place finish in the highly competitive Continental League, Regis Jesuit secured the No. 15 overall seed at 9-5-1 and is paired with 18th-seeded Vista Ridge (9-6) in a game slated for 6 p.m. at Lou Kellogg Stadium. Coach Rick Wolf’s team dropped a one-goal decision to 16th-seeded Rock Canyon in its regular season finale.
That same Rock Canyon team is the opening round opponent of 17th-seeded Cherokee Trail, which gets a rematch against a 11-3-1 team it lost to 1-0 in the season opener Aug. 25.
Coach Jeremy Schaller’s Cougars (6-7-2) — who capped their regular season by rallying from a three-goal deficit to stun Eaglecrest 4-3 in overtime and essentially knock the Raptors out of the postseason — play Rock Canyon at 4 p.m. at EchoPark Stadium (formerly Sports Authority Stadium) in Parker.
No. 27 Aurora Central (8-5-2) finished 0-1-1 against Centennial League teams this season — losing 2-0 to No. 3 Cherry Creek and playing to a scoreless tie with No. 17 Cherokee Trail — and encounter a third when it faces No. 6 Arapahoe (11-4) in a game slated for 3:15 p.m. at Littleton Public Schools Stadium.
The Trojans, who will play their first postseason contest under new coach Ramiro Loera, had a share of first place in the EMAC until a pair of 1-0 loss to Gateway and Hinkley.
Despite a 12-2-1 record — with losses only to No. 11 Rangeview and No. 17 Cherokee Trail — Gateway finished in the No. 29 spot in the RPI, two spots below an Aurora Central team it beat 1-0 head-to-head.
Coach Olaf Siverson’s Olys face a team with an identical 12-2-1 mark in fourth-seeded Broomfield, which welcomes them to Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium at 6 p.m.
Winners advance to the second round, slated for Nov. 2.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2016 CLASS 5A BOYS STATE SOCCER PLAYOFFS
First round, All games Oct. 27
NO. 17 CHEROKEE TRAIL (6-7-2) vs. No. 16 Rock Canyon (11-3-1), 4 p.m., EchoPark Stadium
N0. 29 GATEWAY (12-2-1) at No. 4 Broomfield (12-2-1), 6 p.m.
NO. 27 AURORA CENTRAL (8-5-2) vs. No. 6 Arapahoe (11-4), 3:15 p.m., Littleton Public Schools Stadium
No. 22 Greeley West (8-7) vs. NO. 11 RANGEVIEW (12-2-1), 6 p.m., Aurora Public Schools Stadium
No. 26 Fruita Monument (7-6-2) vs. NO. 7 GRANDVIEW (11-2-2), 6 p.m., Legacy Stadium
No. 18 Vista Ridge (9-6) at NO. 15 REGIS JESUIT (9-5-1), 6 p.m., Lou Kellogg Stadium