Wildcats stay home in playoffs
The Fruita Monument boys soccer team found out Sunday it has claimed one of the coveted first-round home games in the Class 5A state tournament.
The Wildcats, seeded No. 15, play No. 18 Arapahoe. The time and site of Thursday’s first-round game will be determined today by school officials.
After a 12-2-1 season and an undefeated Southwestern League campaign, the Wildcats caught the attention of the playoff seeding committee.
“It’s a lot of respect,” Fruita coach Dan McKee said. “It’s nice to see that someone noticed the season we had over here. It’s nice to be respected.”
Although the Warriors’ 8-5-1 record seems middle-of-the road, Arapahoe played in the toughest league in Colorado.
The Centennial League has the No. 1, No. 5, and No. 6 teams in the state tournament.
McKee said the Wildcats should win if they can play solid defensive soccer, something stats back up.
Wesley Padgett’s 20 goals this season matches the Warriors’ team total for goals. Sophomore midfielder Cameron Unks leads Arapahoe with four goals this season. Six Fruita players have four or more goals this season.
McKee said although he wasn’t completely satisfied with where the Wildcats were seeded, he thinks Fruita can make a playoff run.
“I think we can be successful,” McKee said. “Honestly, we were hoping for the 12 or 13 seed so we wouldn’t have to see some of those higher seeds early.
“But I think if we play the way we can and make it through that (first game), Rock Canyon (seeded second) is a very beatable team. We just need to go out and set the tone. Go out and get the goals we need and anything can happen.”
Despite being 21 miles apart, the Montrose soccer team hasn’t faced Delta since Jim Pavlich became the Indians’ coach in 2010, largely because the teams play in different leagues.
The Indians, seeded 14th, will play No. 19 Delta for the first time since at least 2009 when they meet Wednesday at Montrose in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs. School officials will determine the game time today.
“We’re in separate leagues and they were in 3A for a long time,” Pavlich said. “We kind of made our schedule and dumped 3A teams in maybe 2008 or 2009 and added a couple (Colorado) Springs schools.”
The Indians haven’t seen freshman forward Abraham Ontiveros, who led the Panthers to a 12-2-1 overall record and a 6-2 finish in strong Class 4A Western Slope League. Ontiveros had 13 goals and seven assists this season.
Montrose has had success of its own, handing Fruita its only league draw. Braydon Reese and Greg Shawcroft lead the Indians with 10 goals each. Montrose finished the season 9-4-2, 7-1-2 in the SWL.
“I’ve played (Delta) in the club season but I haven’t really seen this team,” Pavlich said. “Most of what we know about them is through scouting and talking to other coaches. I know they have a pretty deep bench and a talented striker, a young guy. I know they beat Battle Mountain.
“We’re just going to continue to make our game more and more disciplined and more and more lethal.”