The Classical Academy goes into Tuesday night's 3A state championship game with a wealth of experience.
Ten seniors, nine of whom were on the Titans' 2011 championship team, will step on to the pitch at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City for one last high school game. The No. 1 Titans (15-2-1) take on No. 2 Peak to Peak (15-2-2) at 6 p.m.
Eight of those seniors signed national letters of intent to play college soccer. Their experience will play a key role.
"It's a huge, huge help," said Titans coach Blake Galvin, who guides a team to its third title appearance in the last four years. "The fact that a majority of those girls ... being able to provide a sense of calm and tranquility, (can) give some of those younger girls that haven't been there yet, give them perspective on the game and keep them focused. It's a big deal having that much experience coming into this game."
A handful of players will need to lean on those seniors. Through all that wealth of talent and experience, three freshmen will take their normal places in the Titans' starting lineup.
Striker Mikayla Murphy and outside defenders Aleesa Muir and Emily Mueller will line up as they've done throughout the season.
"At this point, they're pretty well settled in," Galvin said "Getting up to Dick's Sporting Goods Park, I think everybody gets a little bit nervous. But I'm confident in their abilities, and they all showed up and played very well Saturday; that was their first state semifinals, and they went out and did their jobs and did what they were supposed to do."
The game will be the second meeting between the two teams. They played at Peak to Peak to a scoreless draw April 3 in a game that Galvin described as evenly matched.
Peak to Peak will have plenty of experience too, led by senior Belle Morel, whose 37 goals are tied for tops in the state.
Win or lose, Galvin is excited for his upperclassmen.
"I'm really, really happy for this group of seniors," Galvin said. "Just the fact they are getting back (to the title game) and they are having the opportunity to play their final high school game as a state championship at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, I really think it's a great way for them to end their high school career."