Published: May 18, 2013
DENVER - More than once, The Classical Academy's season flashed before its eyes. And that was just in the final 2 minutes.
Ultimately, the top-seeded Titans survived a rare deficit and two late breakaway chances for Colorado Academy star Marin McCoy to prevail 2-1 on Meghan Troupe's overtime goal Saturday, capping a journey to Tuesday's 3A girls' soccer championship game that has been lined with close calls.
"She's just terrifying," Titans coach Blake Galvin said of McCoy, a sophomore who already has 14 career playoff goals. "That girl is terrifying. We made a few adjustments going into the overtime that helped. I wish we had made those adjustments sooner. But she's just good. Golly."
McCoy used her speed to twice put the Mustangs (13-5) in position to win in the game's final moments at All City Stadium. One of those opportunities was turned away by Titans goalie Claire LaValley and another resulted in a shot for Alex Oberg that missed high.
"I feel like we controlled the majority of the run of play," Galvin said. "I think there were a couple of moments we dodged, for sure."
McCoy put Colorado Academy up midway through the first half when she redirected a free kick from teammate Megan King - whose huge leg gave the Mustangs scoring opportunities on every free kick within 50 yards of the goal.
The goal was the first allowed by the Titans (15-2-1) since April 14, snapping a run of eight straight shutouts.
"When that goal went in, my first thought was, 'OK, let's see how they respond,'" Galvin said.
"And they responded right, they did exactly what they needed to do. It was kind of how I expected to respond, by coming out even harder, being determined and not hanging their heads. I can't tell you how proud I am of this group of girls."
Bonnie Buzzetta tied the game for TCA 10 minutes into the second half when she outran her defender to a ball that left Colorado Academy's goalie caught between going to get the ball or staying in net.
Troupe then hit the game-winner a few minutes into overtime on a 4-on-3 break when she took it herself up the left side.
"I was just like, I want to finish this and get it over with," said Troupe, whose goal was her team-high-tying 14th of the season. "We didn't want to go to kicks, because anything can happen.
"We worked so freakin' hard this whole season and we're so proud to be able to go to state."
The Titans have outscored opponents 71-8 this season and haven't lost since April 2, but their ride to match the title they won in 2011 has hardly been as dominant as it might seem. Saturday's nail-biter followed a pair of 1-0 victories in overtime.
Close has been more than adequate so far.
"If nothing else, these girls are battle tested," Galvin said. "They've kind of been through it a little bit."