BROOMFIELD — Denise Sutton and her Jefferson Academy Jaguars knew very little about their quarterfinal opponents from Liberty Common.
But they figured it out pretty quickly in Thursday night's Class 3A match at JA's Community Financial Field.
The first 30 second of the match, the Jaguars were on the prowl, setting the precedent and putting the Fort Collins-based Eagles on their proverbial heels.
When the dust settled, the fourth seeded Jaguars had 25 shots on frame, scored on six of them and cemented their place in Saturday's state semifinals with a 6-3 rout of the Eagles.
"(Liberty Common) is a resilient team and that is what I'm trying to get my team to focus on right now is playing a full 80 minutes," said Sutton, whose team will try to avenge a 2-1 loss to Kent Denver — a 4-0 winner over Faith on Thursday — on Saturday at All-City Field in Denver.
"Because everybody now wants this so bad that they are going to play for the full 80 minutes."
Despite a overwhelming amount of possession — upwards of 85 percent in the opening half — Jefferson Academy still found itself locked in a 2-2 draw with the fifth-seeded Eagles after 24 minutes.
Liberty Common had scored on its only two shots on goal, a penalty kick from Olivia Bachelet and a nifty shot from Maddie Kaminky.
Jefferson Academy took the lead for good in the 31st minute. With Sutton urging her team to shoot, shoot and shoot some more the Jags' third goal was set up by an beautiful left-footed cross from Sidney Toratti to Jayla Elstad on the front step of the goal, and she finished with ease.
"I think our girls sometime think they have to possess the ball all the way into the mouth of the goal," said Sutton, who took the Jags to the state title game last year before losing to Colorado Academy 1-0 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. "When really they have a lot of great opportunities and they should just shoot.
"We are working on that and they did it a lot better in the second half."
The much coveted two goal lead finally came in the 55th minute. With Liberty's starting keeper having come out after an injury, the Jags took advantage of the Eagles' back-up keeper on a long free kick. Elstad dropped it off to Jennika Chapman and the junior captain's shot to the upper-90 went through the hands of Anne Dutton and in.
After Bachelet's second goal, a free kick from long range that beat Kassidy Hastings high in the 68th minute, JA would once again answer back.
Emily McParland's howitzer of a free kick from 35 yards out made it 5-3 and then freshman Mira Houck put the nail in the Eagles coffin with a beautiful solo effort in the box.
"We figured out at halftime what we needed to do really well," said Houck, who is thrilled about the chance to still be playing. "We are excited about the opportunity and hopefully we will be able to beat Kent this time around.
"We know who we need to mark and I think we know what we need to do this time."
(4) Jefferson Academy 6, (5) Liberty Common 3
At Jefferson AcademyLiberty Common (14-3) 2 1 — 3
Jefferson Academy (13-4) 3 3 — 6
Goals (assists) — JA: Emily McParland (Jennika Chapman), 12th minute; LC: Olivia Bachelet (penalty kick), 13th; JA: Bridget Lynch (unassisted), 15th; LC: Maddie Kaminky (unassisted) 24th; JA: Jayla Elstad (Sidney Toratti), 31st; Chapman (Elstad), 55th; LC: Bachelet (unassisted), 68th; JA: McParland (unassisted), 71st; Mira Houck (unassisted), 72nd.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Liberty Common: Alison Simpson (80-5-18), Anne Dutton (0-1-0); Jefferson Academy: Kassidy Hastings (80-3-2).