DENVER - No shots on goal for The Classical Academy through the first half? No problem.
For the second consecutive game the Titans came out with an aggressive, attacking style in the second half to win a playoff game that came down to a last-second free kick for Kent Denver.
Freshman Hannah Burgo scored the game's only goal seven minutes into the half to beat No. 13 Kent Denver 1-0 at All City Stadium and put No. 8 TCA back in the Class 3A championship game.
"It's awesome, I honestly have no clue how it's going to be," said Burgo, who scored on a scramble in front. "We wanted it so bad. Everyone is so excited for it."
TCA will play No. 2 Colorado Academy, which defeated No. 3 St. Mary's 4-1.
The Titans had good possession throughout the first half, but couldn't generate scoring chances. Defensively, they again were stalwarts, holding the opposition to three shots, two of those off the crossbar on free kicks from Sun Devils freshman Shelby Schumacher.
And it was the freshman who had the weight of the game placed on her shoulders when TCA was whistled for a foul just outside the box with 17 seconds to play. The Titans put a wall of six players in front of Schumacher, daring her to shoot over them and to the left of TCA goalie Ashlynn Register. Schumacher took the bait. She tried to dip the shot up and over. Instead, the ball sailed harmlessly over the TCA goal.
"Absolutely terrifying," TCA coach Blake Galvin said. "No question about it, that was the most terrifying moment of the game. She had been putting those on frame pretty much all game long, literally on frame."
This team that lost 10 seniors from last year's finalists, started out horribly, posting a 1-5 record after six games. That had seniors like Bonnie Buzzetta wondering what was in store for their last season with the perennial semifinalist.
It's turned out pretty good, as TCA heads to its second consecutive final.
"At the beginning, we were 1-5, so a lot of us didn't really have hope," Buzzetta said. "But coach said we can sit and pout about it or we can work our butts off to improve, and that's what we did."
The Titans lost in last year's finale 1-0 to Peak to Peak. Next year, TCA will be playing at the 4A level.