COLORADO SPRINGS — There isn't a team in the state that Manitou Springs believes it can't hang with. And those beliefs are backed up by their results on the field.
The Mustangs broke into the Class 3A girls soccer rankings a few weeks ago. Monday, they went toe to toe with another team that has been gaining steam recently.
Colorado Springs Springs leapt over their Tri-Peaks League rivals in Monday's new set of rankings. They also came into Monday's game as the No. 2 team in the RPI.
But it was Manitou Springs who left the Four Diamond Sports Complex with the edge in the league standing after getting a 1-0 win.
"It's been our biggest win so far," Manitou coach Ben Mack said. "It feels good."
And for good reason.
The Mustangs (6-1 overall, 2-0 Tri-Peaks) have just one blemish on their season record. And that blemish came on the road to Jefferson Academy, the new No. 1 team in the state.
In fact, the Jaguars are the only team to even score a goal against Manitou.
"How we are as a team with all this built up camaraderie and the sense of teamwork being a major factor in our success, I think we're really confident," keeper Monique Heiniger said. "Coach Mack says before each game that the most important game is the next game. So we treat the next game the same, regardless of who we're playing."
But some games do need to be treated with a little more attention than others. For a good chunk of Monday's game, CSCS (6-1, 2-1) was able to control the ball on the attack. But the Mustangs were able to keep their shape defensively which limited the looks the Lions were able to get.
"We had possession of the ball, probably 70 percent of the time," CSCS coach Jason Rollins said. "We owned it the whole time. We just couldn't find a way to get behind them."
And they made one mistake.
A misfire defensively put the ball on Bridget Bodor's foot right in front of the CSCS net and she ripped it into the back left corner.
In rivalry game that could serve as the de facto league championship, Bodor had a little more time than she would like to let the implications of the shot enter her head.
"I was definitely nervous," Bodor said. "But I knew if I focused and I looked where I wanted to go that I could finish it."
The Mustangs had a 10-7 edge in shots and and even with the four that the Lions had on goal, Heiniger was able to corral them up.
And CSCS couldn't get the production they were used to from Gabby Huthoefer and Hannah Wilson so the equalizer they were trying to find, never came.
But the one thing that the Lions can take away from the game is that if Manitou can play with anyone in the state, it means that they can do it as well and that the Tri-Peaks overall is on the rise.
"(Our league) is pretty strong," Rollins said. "The Jefferson Academies, the Colorado Academies, they're pretty good, but we're hanging with them."
But for now, the top 3A dog in the Colorado Springs area is the Mustangs. They had faith coming into the season that they could play with any team in the state. After Monday's win, there was no talk of faith. There was only belief.