When the season begins to change and the weather starts to cool off, it's a safe bet that the postseason isn't too far away.
That's certainly the case for boys soccer, with the postseason set to get under way in a little more than four weeks. With that end-of-season push, the action is about to get fast and furious with the state's three classifications.
The month of October will be a big one for programs looking to wrap up league championships and others simply trying to secure a playoff berth. A number of top-five games will be played in the coming weeks, including the final week of September.
With that in mind, here are 10 games to watch for October:• Saturday, Oct. 1: The Academy (Westminster) (7-0-1) at KIPP Denver Collegiate (Denver) (6-2-1), 11 a.m.
Two high-octane offenses kick off the month with a Class 3A Frontier League clash.
KIPP averages more than four goals a game, led by senior Jhovani Gonzalez
. The Academy finds the back of the net even more often with 44 goals in eight games, though the team is coming off its first blemish, a 2-2 tie with Lake County. Senior Michael Longtine
leads the team with 10 goals and nine assists and junior Joel Daniel
has added nine goals and seven assists.• Saturday, Oct. 8: Vail Mountain (4-1) at Coal Ridge (New Castle) (7-0), 11 a.m.
Two of the favorites in the Class 3A Western Slope League meet up midway through the league season. The Gore Rangers have played only five games, but are on a four-game winning streak. Seniors Peter Ferraro
, Eric Zdechlik
and Liam Hurley
have combined for 32 of the team's 57 points overall.
Coal Ridge has pounded the back of the net often through its first seven games, outscoring opponents 46-5. The second-ranked Titans are led by two juniors with 28 points each: Josh Fulk
(12 goals, four assists) and Marcus Amaya
(10 goals, eight assists).• Thursday, Oct. 13: Air Academy (7-1) at Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado Springs) (7-1), 6:30 p.m.
The top two teams in Class 4A meet in a Pikes Peak League clash, hoping to get a leg up headed into the postseason. Both teams still have to play No. 5 Lewis-Palmer before that can happen.
Air Academy's only loss came to Pine Creek (Colorado Springs)
, but the squad bounced back with two victories in a row. Junior Kristian Hooker
owns six goals and four assists, and sophomore Thomas Beatty
has posted four shutouts in net.
Cheyenne Mountain suffered its loss at the hands of D'Evelyn (Denver)
in the middle of September. The Indians are coming off a victory over Pine Creek though, and senior Luke White
also has a team-high six goals and four assists.• Thursday, Oct. 13: Palmer Ridge (Monument) (6-1) at Lewis-Palmer (Monument) (7-1), 7 p.m., Don Breese Stadium
Like Air Academy and Cheyenne Mountain, these two teams are also trying to remain in the mix in the Pikes Peak League.
Lewis-Palmer has a rough back-to-back set with Cheyenne Mountain and Air Academy to end September and start October, but Palmer Ridge has to play those same squads. Both teams' only loss came to The Classical Academy.
Ten players have scored at least one goal for Palmer Ridge.• Thursday, Oct. 13: Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village) (6-0) at Grandview (Aurora) (6-1), 7:30 p.m., Legacy Stadium
The Bruins and Wolves are among those fighting for the top spot in the Centennial League midway through the season, though other teams certainly hope to stand in the way.
Cherry Creek has used a balanced offense to keep opponents at bay, with Overland (Aurora)
up Tuesday and then a trip to the Gateway City Tournament.
Grandview won five consecutive games by one goal after opening the season with a tie. The Wolves visit Arapahoe (Centennial)
on Tuesday, relying on an offense that has seen 11 players score at least one goal.
• Saturday, Oct. 15: Legacy (Broomfield) (6-1) at Fairview (Boulder) (7-2), 6 p.m.
Somewhat lost in the midst of the gauntlet that is the 5A Front Range League is the season that Legacy has had. The Lightning's only setback came in a 2-1 loss at undefeated Boulder
, though October's schedule will be a challenge. Senior Tajon Buchanan
has paced Legacy with 11 goals.
Fairview fell twice in a three-game stretch, but a big victory over Fort Collins on Monday leads into a showdown with rival Boulder on Thursday.• Tuesday, Oct. 18: D'Evelyn (6-3) at Standley Lake (Westminster) (6-3), 5 p.m., NAAC
D'Evelyn has found some consistency as of late, reeling off four victories in a row and setting the tone in 4A Jeffco League play with an overtime victory over defending state champion Evergreen. The Jaguars also knocked off Cheyenne Mountain during the run, and senior Wesley Tedstrom
has paced the squad with nine goals.
Before a 1-0 loss to Holy Family (Broomfield)
on Monday, the Gators had taken three games in a row by its own 1-0 margin and five overall this season. Nine of the 11 goals the team has allowed came in two defeats.
• Thursday, Oct. 20: Broomfield (7-1) at Boulder (8-0), 6 p.m.
The regular-season finale for both teams may very well decide the ultra-competitive Front Range League.
Boulder – which still must close out September against rival Fairview – has allowed only two goals this season against in-state competition. Senior Blaise Werner
leads the Panthers with 10 goals in seven games, and sophomore Djibril Doumbia
has already notched six shutouts.
Broomfield has reeled off six consecutive victories in September, including four league victories by a 3-0 margin. Three players scored in a victory over Fairview on Sept. 22.• Thursday, Oct. 20: Regis Jesuit (Aurora) (5-1-1) at Rock Canyon (Highlands Ranch) (8-2), 4:30 p.m., Echo Park Stadium
The finale of the Continental League pits two teams looking to make an impact with the playoffs looming.
Rock Canyon started strong with seven victories in a row, but the Jaguars dropped two of their previous three games. Senior Matt Behnke
leads the team with eight goals and sophomore Justin Olcott
Regis Jesuit split an out-of-state trip, with its only loss coming in two overtimes. Junior Colin Giardino
leads the team in scoring.• Friday, Oct. 21: Colorado Academy (Denver) (4-2-1) at Peak to Peak (Lafayette) (6-1-1), 6 p.m.
For two teams fighting to stay in the thick of the 3A Metro League, the regular-season finale should be a big one in terms of potential seeding for the postseason.
Colorado Academy endured a rough week with a loss to top-ranked Kent Denver and a tie with Fountain Valley. The Mustangs close the regular season against three ranked teams (4A's The Classical Academy and 3A's Jefferson Academy and Peak to Peak).
No. 4 Peak to Peak's big stretch comes with two difficult contests this week against fifth-ranked Jefferson Academy and No. 1 Kent Denver. Miguel Arriaga leads the team with eight goals, and junior Brendan Lefkowicz has three goals and a team-leading 10 assists.