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5th Annual Colorado Border War – Denver vs. Boulder
February 3, 2015
The 4th Annual Border War went into the history books with very little fanfare last year. Boulder was able to put together a winning team once again and Denver had to resign themselves to the reality of the dreaded “4-peat.” Thus, it was no surprise to Boulder’s Team Captain when Denver proposed a date for the 5th matchup very early in the season. This was one monkey Denver wanted to get offer their backs!
Unfortunately, the big day in November arrived along with an unseasonal snowstorm and it looked like Denver might have to wait another full season to get a chance at the Sapporo Cup Trophy. Not to be denied their opportunity, Denver floated first one date and then another until finally with less than 2 weeks notice, the event had officially been rescheduled and was right around the corner. Colorado served up a perfect blue sky, windless day this time around. The Boulder players arrived relaxed and confident, as they knew the drill and were ready. Following the traditional fanfare, smack talking and group photo, the first round began. Having put together a line-up that clearly had Denver thinking it was their year, the initial results seemed to back this up. The first three matches off the court all went to Denver in straight sets, giving them a 6-0 start to the evening. Boulder had quickly gone from the confident champs to having their backs against the wall. Denver’s smiles and swagger did not last long as Boulder stormed back to win the next 3 matches, ending round 1 only one point behind Denver, 6-7.
<Left: Denver Celebrates!)
This left Boulder in a familiar position and the confidence had returned. Denver had jumped into the lead in the first round before, only to fall short in the end. The first 4 matches of the second round hit the courts and live scoring updates were flying around the grounds. Boulder put up two victories and with the set counts on court; the war was officially tied and up for grabs.
Boulder had a chance to take the lead, but Denver’s Dan Washburne & Ben Burke fought off match point in the second set and carried that momentum into a victory in the 3rd. Other matches finished up and suddenly with two matches remaining on court, Denver had pulled into a 2-point lead. These final two matches split sets and the crowd gathered cheering each and every point. Boulder would need to pull out both of these final sets to force a tiebreaker. Three of Boulder’s past MVP’s were on court and hope was still alive and well. This feeling was short lived however as one great shot was followed by another amazing get by the Denver players. Denver could smell blood in the water and their cheers grew in volume, pressing their teammates forward. Then it happened, it was over and a chorus of “Olé, Olé Olé Olé” broke out among the Denver crowd.
MVP’s – Ben Burke, Jay Schwab & & Derek Fisher
At the end of the night, Denver had won 7 of the 12 matches and the scoreboard showed 13 sets to Denver and only 8 to Boulder. The victory was a sound one and Denver celebrated by taking turns chugging from the Sapporo Cup Trophy much to the Boulder players’ chagrin.
The party began in earnest as the Boulder players began to excuse themselves one by one after the tough loss. Midnight came and went without a single player from the Denver team calling it a night. This author was the final Boulder player to leave and had to drive away listening to ruckus cheers as the Denver players realized that they had the clubhouse to themselves. It was a long drive home. Well played Denver, well played.
Captain’s – John Stegner & Matt Assini
Boulder: Brad Medd, Brock Borman, Steve Filmer, Tom Houlihan, Pete Chandler, John Stegner, Curt Corrigan, Jim Bray, Townsend Hall, Mike Small (front row) Eamonn McNaughton, Andy Smith
Denver: Andrew Green, Ian Hintz, Matt Assini, Ben Burke, Tom Hertzberg, Matt Kranich, Will Morris (front row) Dan Sheldon, Derek Fisher, Cary Hodges, Dan Washburne, Jay Schwab,
Some quick recognition for notable performances on both sides:
Denver’s Derek Fisher, Jay Schwab & Ben Burke were awarded MVP status by captain Matt Assini as they were able to pull off wins in both rounds. Boulder’s Steve Filmer was the only other player to go undefeated on the evening.