When the Class 4A playoff bracket was released Sunday, D'Evelyn (Denver)
boys soccer coach Paul Moline and his team would have had every right to voice their displeasure.
The Jaguars, who won the Class 4A Jeffco League – and handed the state's No. 1 seed, Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado Springs)
, its only loss – find themselves hitting the road as the 17th overall seed. Two teams that finished behind D'Evelyn in league play, Standley Lake (Westminster)
and Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch)
, both drew home games.
Such is the way of life with RPI, where strength of schedule and winning percentages prove to be a bigger factor in seeding than league titles. But Moline isn't one to make excuses, and he understands why the Jaguars fell where they did.
"We had a couple of games that we kind of let get away from us and we ended up losing them. If we hadn't, we probably would have been a higher seed," Moline said. "I think it refocused us a little bit. They wish they could play at home – we all do. But if we win a couple other games, we're not sitting in that spot."
D'Evelyn (10-4-1) opens first-round play Wednesday at Denver North
(9-6), which finished fourth in the 5A/4A Denver Prep League.
The winner of that game will face the winner of top-seeded Cheyenne Mountain and No. 32 Northridge (Greeley)
on Nov. 1. D'Evelyn defeated the Indians 4-1 on Sept. 13, but Moline won't let his squad get ahead of itself.
"We're just thinking about this next game. We can't think about a couple games down or even where we're at in the bracket," he said. "We have to win five games to get to where we want to be. Denver North is a great team. They're a very dangerous team."
The 4A tournament kicks off the postseason, with Class 5A following suit on Thursday. The 3A field gets under way Friday. Each of the three championship games will be played Nov. 12.
Here is a look at the playoff brackets in each classification, along with a few teams that could make surprise runs:Class 5A
Defending State Champion: BroomfieldTop 4 Seeds:
1. Denver East
, 2. Boulder
, 3. Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
, 4. BroomfieldOverview:
It should come as little surprise that three of the top five seeds come from the Front Range League. Boulder, Broomfield and Fairview (Boulder)
are perennial contenders, with the undefeated Panthers (15-0) coming off a 2-1 victory over the two-time defending state champion Eagles on Oct. 20. … East was the No. 19 overall seed a year ago and lost in the first round, but the Angels (15-0) dominated during the regular season. East outscored opponents 61-11, led by 2015 3A Player of the Year Max Gottesfeld
, who transferred from Kent Denver. … Cherry Creek ran the table on the Centennial League, but the Bruins find themselves in the same quadrant as No. 6 Arapahoe (Centennial)
, which took Creek to overtime Oct. 6.Upset Potential: Legacy (Broomfield)
is a team that could be dangerous as the No. 13 seed. The Lightning could have a second-round matchup with Broomfield, which Legacy played to a 1-1 tie earlier this month. The Lightning also played both tough against both Boulder and Fairview, dropping both matches by one goal. A four-game winless stretch late in the season hurt the team, but senior Tajon Buchanan
finished the regular season with 19 goals and the team allowed only 16 goals in 15 games. … After the run Mountain Vista (Highlands Ranch)
made in 2015 as the No. 28 seed – advancing all the way to the title game – opponents would be unwise to overlook the 10th-seeded Golden Eagles. Mountain Vista allowed just eight goals in 15 games behind the play of senior goalkeeper Christopher Reicher
.Class 5A state tournament bracket
Defending State Champion: EvergreenTop 4 Seeds:
1. Cheyenne Mountain, 2. Lewis-Palmer (Monument)
, 3. The Classical Academy (Colorado Springs)
, 4. Air Academy (US Air Force Academy)Overview:
The top four seeds all come from the Colorado Springs area, with three teams representing the Pikes Peak League and another the Colorado Springs Metro. Cheyenne Mountain (13-1-1), which was the No. 1 seed a year ago as well, defeated each of those other three teams this fall. Senior Luke White
recorded 14 goals and 12 assists in the regular season. … Mullen (Denver)
didn't make the postseason last fall, but the Mustangs are the fifth seed headed into the playoffs. The team's three losses came to 5A Centennial League foes, and senior Cody Brazelton
scored 22 goals. Teammate Andrew Seaman
notched 16 assists.Upset Potential:
The afore-mentioned D'Evelyn Jaguars played well against stiff competition, as evidenced by the victory over Cheyenne Mountain. … Defending state champion Evergreen also can't be overlooked at the No. 20 seed. The Cougars dropped five games in the regular season, but four of those were by one goal. … No. 11 Palmer Ridge (Monument)
is another team to watch. The Bears defeated 5A Vista Ridge and No. 2 Lewis-Palmer down the stretch, and played to a 1-1 draw with Cheyenne Mountain. Five players finished with at least 10 points this season.Class 4A state tournament bracketClass 3A
Defending State Champion: Kent Denver (Englewood)Top 4 Seeds:
1. Kent Denver, 2. KIPP Denver Collegiate
, 3. Colorado Academy (Denver)
, 4. Vail MountainOverview:
Two-time defending state champion Kent Denver didn't drop a single game during the regular season. In fact, the only blemish was a 2-2 tie with 4A Evergreen. The Sun Devils allowed only six goals, including two over the final 10 games behind senior Ross Rainaldi
. … Three of the top six seeds are from the Metro League. Colorado Academy is the third seed, and Jefferson Academy (Broomfield)
is No. 6. … KIPP's two losses came to Denver Prep League teams in 5A and 4A, and the team won its final eight games.Upset Potential: Delta
drops down to 3A for the first time, and the Panthers won't be an easy out at No. 20. The Panthers took No. 4 Vail Mountain to two overtimes before falling 2-1, and defeated No. 8 Coal Ridge (New Castle)
earlier this season. Freshman Martin Corral
led the team with 16 goals during the regular season … Either Coal Ridge or No. 9 Fountain Valley (Colorado Springs)
could be a tough matchup for Kent Denver. The Titans own victories over Fountain Valley and Vail Mountain, and the Danes fell to the Sun Devils 2-1 on Oct. 15. Fountain Valley was the state runner-up a year ago … Salida
senior Evan Coit
is one of the most prolific scorers in the field with 22 goals in 15 games. The Spartans are the No. 10 seed and have a history of making runs in the tournament.Class 3A state tournament bracket