DENVER - For a half at least, St. Mary's was holding on.
Trailing by a goal entering the second half, the Pirates had been outshot and outworked. Colorado Academy didn't let up.
The No. 2 Mustangs scored another pair in the second half to eliminate No. 3 St. Mary's in the Class 3A girls' soccer semifinals 4-1 at All City Stadium on Saturday.
Alex Oberg scored a pair of goals and Marin McCoy had a goal and a hand in two others, as the Mustangs punched their ticket to Tuesday's state finals at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City.
"They all work really hard," Pirates senior Carina Friend said. "They outworked us at times, they won 50-50 balls we didn't get to and they had really good movement through the middle."
The Mustangs (15-4) will face The Classical Academy for the title. The Titans will have to figure out how to contain McCoy, who was too much for the Pirates (15-2-1).
"We were aware they would take the ball to the end line," St. Mary's coach Gregg Braha said. "We were aware that Marin McCoy was involved in more than one out of every two goals they scored this season. ... It's exactly what we expected, and that's exactly what they did."
Despite knowing what the Mustangs were going to do - Colorado Academy has eliminated the Pirates three consecutive seasons - St. Mary's couldn't stop them. Colorado Academy poured 13 shots on goal, a lot of them from inside the box and with good looks at the net.
"They had a really good player, No. 11, she's great," Pirates senior Carina Friend said about McCoy. "They worked the ball around us really well. We were prepared for how they scored goals and we just weren't able to stop it."
The Mustangs struck first, with Julia Murphy benefiting from a great cross from McCoy. Murphy was all alone on the back door when McCoy's low pass found Murphy's onrushing feet.
The Pirates answered five minutes later, with Rachel Craft crashing the goal and managing to somehow put the ball in the net. While it tied the game, it didn't do much for momentum. With about 13 minutes left from the break, McCoy beat a defender and then chipped the ball up and into the net.
"I think the girls did feel comfortable," Colorado Academy coach Sean Stedeford said. "Having played them the last two years in the playoffs, ... I think they knew confidently that they could play."