The Classical Academy didn't look past Manitou Springs on Saturday afternoon, but the No. 8-seeded Titans knew what the bracket looked like, and they were hoping for a certain matchup in the 3A girls' soccer quarterfinals.
With their dominating 5-1 win over the No. 9 Mustangs at home in the second round, the Titans got their wish and will face No.?1 Jefferson Academy in the round of eight Thursday.
"I'm really happy with how we're playing, and I think we're stepping up and playing more for each other than ourselves," said TCA senior Bonnie Buzzetta, who had a goal and two assists. "We don't like Jefferson Academy at all, and when we saw the bracket we said, 'Bring it on.'"
TCA (8-6-1) lost 5-3 at Jefferson Academy earlier this season in a hotly contested and physical game.
The Titans dropped five of their first six games to start the season, then rallied to finish the regular season 6-6-1 and earned the No. 8 seed in the bracket.
That bad start, and the loss to Jefferson Academy (15-2), are in the rearview mirror, and the Titans are rolling. TCA outscored its two opponents over the weekend 12-1, and coach Blake Galvin likes what he's seeing.
"I'm very happy with how the girls have progressed through this season and how they've really come out and taken care of business these first two playoff games," Galvin said. "We're taking care of the little things, which is important. The reality of it is we're very excited to be going back to Jefferson Academy and getting another shot at them."
The Titans looked to be on a mission Saturday. They were quicker and more physical than their Tri-Peaks rival, and scored three times in the first half to take a 3-0 lead into the break.
Hannah Burgo tallied her second goal of the game early in the second half, and Mikayla Murphy added a score in the 59th minute to make it 5-0.
"We're playing well and we're hungry to keep winning games - especially the next one," Burgo said. "We know we can beat Jefferson Academy, and we know we can win state. Everyone else might think we're underdogs, but we don't."
TCA played like a well-oiled machine, making crisp passes and controlling the ball for the majority of the game.
Things didn't go as well for the visiting Mustangs (12-5). After TCA scored its third goal of the first half to take a 3-0 lead, Manitou Springs coach Mike Fox was red carded and ejected for something he said to a referee.
Neither Fox, nor his coaching staff, would give any comment after the game. His team continued to fight until the end when Georgia Findley scored with 45 seconds left to keep the Mustangs from being shut out.
"We graduated nine seniors last year and knew this would be a tough season, but we had a better seed in playoffs than last year and I was proud of the way the younger girls stepped up," said Manitou's Riley Witham, one of five Mustangs seniors.
"Losing is never fun, but we made some great memories, and that's what I'll look back on."