In a battle of 3A powerhouses between St. Mary’s and TCA on Tuesday, only one team showed up.
Under the lights of Don and Jan Nutter Field at Grace Center the Titans were without seven varsity players as the host scored four first-half goals to coast to a 5-0 win.
Forward Emily Loof led the way with two goals and two assists as the Pirates (12-2) have now outscored their opponents 68-7 this season.
Before Tuesday, TCA (10-2-3) had given up less than .5 goals per game – six goals in 14 games - and it had held its opponents scoreless in 10 of those. On Tuesday, five goals went by backup goalie Chrissy Lind while St. Mary’s and its keeper Ashley Bradford, who made two second-half saves, enjoyed their 10th shutout of the season.
It all happened so quickly against Lind, who is in her first year of soccer at any level.
In the 9th minute, sophomore Alex Sjobakken tapped it to freshman Maleia Lark whose shot bounced off the left post only to roll into the right side of the net for the game’s first goal.
Four minutes later, Ana Nutter put a Loof-pass to the opposite side for the 2-0 lead.
St. Mary’s coach Gregg Braha knew what TCA was going through.
“A week ago we had only given up three goals all season, then Peak to Peak scored four on us,” said Braha whose team lost to Peak to Peak 4-1 on April 24th. “These are two really good programs. TCA won it all last year and we won two years before that.
With these southern Colorado teams, on any night you roll the dice and see what you get.”
So, after 13 minutes the Pirates had already matched the most goals put on TCA in a game this season (the others being Peak to Peak and Jefferson Academy which scored two apiece). More were still to come.
On a corner kick in the 19th minute, Loof floated an alley-pass towards the net to Sarah Egbert who threw down the oop with a spearing header.
“I think Sarah has one of the best headers in the state,” Loof said. “When we practice corner kicks we always look for Sarah.”
Loof then scored the final two goals of the game.
First, with 11:25 left in the first, the sophomore took a pass from Tess Thomas and laced a 25-foot goal to take a 4-0 lead into the break.
After a handful of great saves from Lind, who had 11, Loof scored the second half’s lone goal with 3:11 remaining. She said Kylie Clearly made it “effortless” when she sent the pass to Loof who tapped it past a diving Lind and a trailing defense.
Now, both teams will head into the postseason ranked among the states’ best in 3A (TCA was third and St. Mary’s was fourth before Tuesday).
After the win, Braha said to his gathered team “it’s a great week to be a Pirate.”
TCA coach Blake Galvin hopes he will be able do the same soon -- when he has a full team to gather.
“We just got hammered this week,” he said.
Defenders Kaytlon Roitsch and Kaileigh Phelps are the only two expected to miss the rest of the season as they both suffered ACL tears for TCA.