The reclamation project that is The Classical Academy's girls' soccer season took another step forward Tuesday night.
Freshman Hannah Burgo scored in each half, and TCA used a persistent attack, pinpoint passing and physical play to defeat Manitou Springs 3-1 in front of a home crowd. The victory was the third in four games for the Titans (4-6, 3-0 3A Region 2), who began the season 1-5.
"We knew that our possession, our ability to pass and to use the whole width of the field was going to be critical for us," TCA coach Blake Galvin said. "They came out, executed our game plan and did exactly what we needed to do. I was really pleased with that."
Burgo deposited a swift, left-footed shot into the top of the Mustangs' net with 11:18 remaining in the first half, then capitalized on a defender's slip to put TCA up 2-0 just 42 seconds into the second half. Manitou Springs (6-3, 2-1) responded 59 seconds later when Georgia Findlay scored from point-blank range after TCA was unable to clear the ball, but Burgo set up Bonnie Buzzetta for an insurance goal with a crossing pass that split a pair of Mustangs with 7:35 left in the game.
"We were just on and really wanted to win," said Burgo, who leads the team with 10 goals.
"We wanted to possess the ball and cut off passes, and that's what we did. At the beginning (of the season) we didn't know how it was going to go, but we have a lot of potential and I think everyone knows it."
TCA had a multitude of scoring chances in both halves thanks to its domination of the possession battle and constant pressure on Manitou Springs' side of the field. Four Titans unleashed shots that hit the crossbar above the head of Mustangs goalie Monique Heininger, keeping the score closer than it could have been.
Buoyed by its recent success, Galvin expects his team's confidence to rise after the key victory over the Mustangs.
"It's huge for us," he said. "It makes a huge difference and just gives us momentum as we move deeper into the season and get closer to the playoffs. We've had a rough start to our season, but they've started to play well and we're going in the right direction."
Findlay hit the left post with a shot with about 1:20 remaining that would have made it a one-goal game, and Manitou Springs had a host of scoring chances that fell short. In the end, an inability to cut off TCA's passing lanes and a tentative defense that allowed the Titans to reel off a number of quality shots on goal was too much for the Mustangs.
"We had some chances, but we just needed to get more shots on goal," Manitou Springs coach Mike Fox said. "I'm real proud of our effort, and our girls did a good job. Sometimes, things just don't go your way."