Gazette Preps team to watch this week: The Classical Academy girls' soccer

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Photo - TCA goalie Lauren Fletcher works on stopping balls during a practice at TCA on Monday, April 10, 2017 at TCA High School.  Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette
TCA goalie Lauren Fletcher works on stopping balls during a practice at TCA on Monday, April 10, 2017 at TCA High School. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette

A strong start to the season is hardly unusual for The Classical Academy girls' soccer program.

But it takes seniors ably stepping into new leadership roles to earn a 6-0 record, which includes wins over the 3A and 4A defending state champions.

That is where seniors Hannah Burgo and Nicole Hale have made their biggest mark.

Burgo paces the Titans with seven goals even while adjusting to her new playmaking role in the midfield while outside midfielder Hale (four goals, four assists) has emerged as an offensive force.

"(Burgo) is doing a great job of controlling the ball and making plays for us," Titans coach Blake Galvin said. "But she has also stepped up in leadership and has been a very good leader for us. Nicole has really stepped it up as well."

The key has been gelling quickly as teammates.

"We haven't had as good a chemistry in past years but this year we're really feeling like a family and that is showing in how we play on the field and how we interact off," said Burgo, a Colorado College soccer signee.

TCA goalie gets ready to block a shot from Hannah Burgo while Karlee Hendrick defends during a practice at TCA on Monday, April 10, 2017 at TCA High School. Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette 

The Titans, fresh off a 10-1 league win over Elizabeth on Tuesday, are ranked No. 1 in the most recent state RPI rankings, which determines 4A playoffs seeding.

TCA was upset in the second round of the playoffs last year after a regular season that included a victory over eventual state champion Lewis-Palmer.

Although the Titans defeated the Rangers for a second year in a row, they know their season will be judged by playoff results.

To that end, the seniors are focused on making the team better as conference play continues. They host Woodland Park on Thursday.

"The chemistry this year is really good and for the most part our relationships on and off the field have been good," Hale said. "For whatever reason, it is really working for us this year. We have had good starts before and the challenge for us is to keep improving."

The victory over L-P and a season-opening road win over defending 3A champ Kent Denver propelled the Titans past Valor Christian in the most recent RPI rankings.

"It's still pretty early in the season," Galvin said, "but so far I am pleased with their effort and chemistry."