Denver Christian put up a wall in the first half of its playoff game against host The Classical Academy, but after the Titans' first goal from freshman Chris Chasteen, the scoring chances poured in.
So did two more goals.
No. 3 The Classical Academy shut out No. 19 Denver Christian 3-0 at in the second round of the 3A state playoffs to put the Titans back into the quarterfinals.
The game was scoreless after the first 40 minutes of play despite a handful of quality chances from the Titans (16-1-0) from the 24th minute to the break. TCA junior goalkeeper Micah Mesward had to be alert for a couple of quality chances from the Crusaders (10-7), including a free kick at the 20th minute which he wrestled to the ground for a save.
The Titans will face No. 6 Coal Ridge on Friday in the quarters, the same round the Titans were eliminated in a season ago.
Denver Christian stacked the back line, putting extra personnel on defense, forcing TCA strikers to try and pound it in. The best chance the Titans had for a an early lead was on a corner kick that saw senior Jeremy Baldes cut to the left of the goal for a sharp upper-deck try. However, the shot was stopped by Crusaders senior Matthew Douglas-May, with his face.
"We knew we had to be patient," Titans coach Blake Galvin said. "We knew Denver Christian was going to defend hard. But we continued to play, doing what we'd been doing, and it provided us with options."
TCA continued to break down the Denver Christian back wall in the start of the second until it finally paid off in the form of a corner kick from freshman Jordan Borja to Chasteen. Chasteen headed in the corner kick into the upper right corner to give the Titans a 1-0 lead in the 47th minute.
"We started to pass more," Chasteen said. "We started getting to the sides and it was working for us. After that, we were working off the corners. After the first goal, we just kept going."
Denver Christian thinned out the back line after the first goal and Titans forwards were able to break loose to the goal multiple times over the next two minutes.
In the 69th minute, amid a sea of white in front of the Denver Christian goal, Titans sophomore Anders Carlson found the back of the net to push TCA's lead to 2-0.
"The first goal gave us a little confidence," Galvin said. "It was demoralizing for them and they backed off. That was pretty critical to getting two more goals."
A minute later, Denver Christian turned up the forward pressure to get a quick shot toed on goal, but Mesward parried it to the right side to create a Crusaders corner kick, also thwarted.
Sophomore Robbie Jacobs, who was neck deep in several of the Titans scoring chances, struck the third goal after an assist from Borja from deep in the Denver Christian right side for a 3-0 lead.
"The whole game, I was making different runs, creating different opportunities for the other guys," Jacobs said. "I finally found my corner and took it."
The Crusaders midfield started to get deflated, giving up possession constantly and missing out an an eventual trip to the quaterfinals.
Now with two playoff wins under its belt, The Classical Academy is ready to take it all the way, Chasteen said.
"We've got to keep playing our way, stay calm, play as a team and keep going hard," he said. "The wins will keep coming, and we'll get to state."