Telluride’s dreams of a state soccer championship ended in overtime on a chilly Saturday evening in suburban Denver.
Crested Butte Community School scored on a free kick from just outside the penalty box in overtime, ending what had been a scoreless stalemate in the state’s first Class 2A boys soccer final.
Playing at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, the two mountain resort rivals battled to a 0-0 tie at the end of regulation.
Late in the first overtime, Crested Butte sophomore Gabi Marmolejo converted a free kick into the winning goal with a shot to the upper right corner, over the Telluride defensive wall.
“It was a great, great game,” Telluride head coach Ramon Rodriguez said. “Both teams were out there battling all the way.”
Both teams, he said, had scoring chances during regulation.
“We had our opportunities. Our (forwards) had opportunities … we just couldn’t capitalize,” Rodriguez said, adding that Telluride goalie Tommy Wells played an incredible game in the state final.
“Tommy had a hell of a game,” Rodriguez said. “He had so many saves … he had at least six great saves.”
A foul drawn by the Titans late in OT produced a whistle.
“The ball was right in the middle (of the field),” Rodriguez said. “It wasn’t a penalty kick, but just outside. We had a wall set up, but the kid made a great shot. Give him credit.”
A Crested Butte teammate made the first run at the free kick; Marmolejo followed with the winner.
No. 1 seed Crested Butte ended its championship season 15-1-2.
Telluride, the No. 6 seed with a magical run into the state final, finished 12-6-1.
The two regional rivals had played twice during the regular season.
Crested Butte won 2-1 in a home match early in the season. The Titans then edged the Miners 1-0 in a tight homecoming match in Telluride late in the year.
The Telluride boys started their run in the Class 2A playoffs with a dominating 10-2 win over Thomas MacLaren on home turf in Telluride.
The Miners then used their magic in back-to-back overtime victories in the state quarterfinals and semifinals.
The Telluride boys beat No. 3 seed Dawson School 2-1 in double OT in Lafayette, and then beat No. 2 seed Fountain Valley 3-2 in overtime last weekend in Denver.
This week, the overtime magic belonged to Crested Butte. The Titans’ OT goal gave Crested Butte Community School its first state championship in a team sport.
Telluride, which had advanced further than any Miners’ soccer team in school history, was seeking its first state championship in boys soccer.
The Miners own one state title in boys cross country (2010) and two state championships in girls cross country (the last in 2016), respectively.
This season is the first for the Class 2A division in Colorado boys soccer. Previously, the 2A soccer teams played in the 3A classification.
The state championship defeat was difficult, Rodriguez said.
“But there’s not disappointment at all. This (game) could have gone either way,” Rodriguez said. “I’m happy … (the winner) was a team that we know; a team we respect.”
He and Crested Butte head coach Thad Acuff, in his 15th season, both said they were proud to have their teams play for the state championship.
Rodriguez saved special praise for Telluride’s soccer support network.
“I have to commend the parents and the fans for making the trip over (to Denver). They helped us (last weekend). They helped us all the way,” Rodriguez said. “This was a whole community effort.”