AURORA | At the end of an anything-but-normal boys soccer season, seedings for the Class 5A postseason seem nearly irrelevant.
That’s why Thursday’s first round matchup between top-seeded Regis Jesuit and No. 16 Cherry Creek at Lou Kellogg Stadium felt like a heavyweight bout between two quality sides that weren’t separated by much, despite what the seedings said.
As in many battles between closely matched teams, a set piece proved to the difference and it went in the favor of the Bruins, who netted the lone goal of the game with just over a minute left in regulation and held on for a 1-0 victory over the Raiders.
The goal by Mitch Hughes — who snuck a header off a corner kick from Cyrus Gulati past a defender hugging the goal post — represented the only score allowed in eight games on the season by coach Rick Wolf’s Regis Jesuit Continental League championship-winning team, which finished the season 7-1.
Cherry Creek — which was was just 6-4 on the season and lost two times apiece to Arapahoe and Mullen, who both missed the postseason — moved into the quarterfinals and will play at No. 8 Boulder Saturday. The Panthers topped No. 9 Adams City 3-0.
Regis Jesuit failed to score itself for the first time all season, but had a variety of chances, especially with senior defender Tanner Scarth dropping multiple long throw-ins into the goal box only to have them cleared.
Scarth’s throw-in helped create Regis Jesuit’s best chance with just over four minutes left in regulation when senior Jaden Ohlsen kept the ball alive with a bicycle kick and junior Daniel Hilt had a point blank chance to score that was saved by Cherry Creek goalkeeper Knox Quarles.
Regis Jesuit was one of three Aurora teams eliminated in the opening round of the 16-team state tournament as No. 5 Rangeview fell to No. 12 Arvada West 2-1 and No. 11 Aurora Central fell 4-0 on the road at No. 6 Pine Creek.
Fourth-seeded Grandview — the Centennial League champion, which suffered its only loss to Cherry Creek — advanced with a 3-0 win over No. 13 Denver East.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
(16) CHERRY CREEK 1, (1) REGIS JESUIT 0
Score by halves:
Cherry Creek 0 1 — 1
Regis Jesuit 0 0 — 0
Cherry Creek — Mitch Hughes (Cyrus Gulati), 78th minute