LAFAYETTE - With last year's hero reduced to spectator status, TCA could only watch as Peak to Peak avenged a loss in the 2011 3A state final.
Caitlin Troupe -- who scored the game-winner for the Titans in that championship game -- was one of four starters sidelined with injuries as TCA fell 3-0 Thursday in a 3A quarterfinal.
“Who isn’t hurt for us right now?” TCA coach Blake Galvin said. “(Peak to Peak) is the best team we’ve seen all year, so we wanted to come out and frustrate them early.
"Obviously that didn’t happen.”
Off a corner kick in the sixth minute, Titans’ keeper Claire LaValley punched out the initial cross only to have Peak to Peak’s Michaela Vanderheiden fire it under a leaping Belle Morel into the left corner of the net.
“I saw it coming, but Belle is a tricky player,” LaValley said of Morel, the second-leading scorer in 3A. “I thought she was going to tip it, so I readied for that … but she just jumped over.”
Two minutes later, Lea Maxwell floated it over LaValley’s outstretched fingertips to make it 2-0. Morel sent it ahead before Maxwell boxed out a defender and towered in a rainbow shot in for her 11th of the season.
“I saw (LaValley) come out a bit so I just wanted to get it over her,” Maxwell said. “Luckily, it went in.”
Galvin and his short-handed team were stunned.
“That’s tough, I knew we had to go out and get a good start,” Galvin said. “But they were just too much.”
TCA (12-3-3) didn’t fold though as it nearly cut the lead in half when Joanie Jacks broke from the field and scampered 40 yards only to hit the top corner of the crossbar at the 26:50 mark. Then late in the half, Meghan Troupe, Caitlyn’s twin sister, rolled one into the keeper’s arms with 6 minutes left in the half.
After the break, the second half imitated the first as Peak to Peak (15-3) scored in the sixth minute. A trio of white jerseys passed it around the perimeter of the box before Emily Gardner swished one into the right side of net.
“Yeah, it sucks,” LaValley said. “We’ve just had so many injuries. I’m proud of this team and how far we got despite that. Next year we’ll come back and be healthy and go for it.”
As the horn sounded, Galvin embraced the team’s lone senior Kayla Knight, telling her how much he’d miss her.
The Titans will return the rest of their 18 varsity players in 2013.
“We are excited about that,” Galvin said. “But it’s tough to feel good about that right now.”