2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Girls’ soccer: TCA growing up quickly

Published: May 15, 2014, 11:58 pm, by Scott Kaniewski

The Classical Academy is aging a lot quicker than expected. And the Titans are perfectly fine with that.

Heading into the season, Titans coach Blake Galvin knew his team had plenty of talent. But with seven sophomores and five freshmen on the squad, Galvin wasn’t sure the team would be able to put it together.

He can be sure now. The Titans are unbeaten in eight straight games (7-0-1). They romped to the 3A Region 2 league title. And the No. 8 Titans just knocked off No. 1 Jefferson Academy to get back to the semifinals despite 10 seniors graduating from last year’s state runner-up squad.

“It just took us some time to figure out that we can play and to get to know each other,” Galvin said. “And we’re learning each other, we’re figuring each other out and how we play.”

TCA opened the season with one win through its first six games and three wins in its first nine games. The last team to beat the Titans? Jefferson Academy, when the Titans rallied to tie, before ultimately falling 5-3.

“It (the slow start) discouraged us, but we overcame it,” sophomore center back Emily Mueller said.

The Titans youth was on full display in Thursday’s win over Jefferson Academy. Sophomore Mikayla Murphy scored their opening goal and their eventual game winner. Freshman phenom Hannah Burgo sandwiched her 20th goal of the season between Murphy’s two in the 3-2 win.

The regulars to the semifinals are back, and it comes only as a small shock to the Titans.

“It surprises me a little bit because we lost 10 seniors last year,” Murphy said. “But everybody on the team has a great work ethic, so after practicing for a month or two, I thought it was definitely possible.”

Anchoring the defense was Mueller. The stalwart in the center of the back line helped repel everything that came at the Titans in the final 15 minutes.

“It’s just awesome,” Mueller said. “We worked so hard for this. This is our goal, we set it at the beginning of the season.”

On Saturday, all those underclassmen will help try and get the four seniors and two juniors back into the state championship game, this time against No. 13 Kent Denver — another team that beat those Titans when they were so much younger once upon a time.

They grow up so quickly.

“We’re getting there,” Galvin said. “We’re getting there, absolutely.”