The Legacy girls soccer team run may have gone as far as many had expected, yet many may have felt it ended too soon.
But the Lady Broncos got past Red Oak last week in another shootout thriller before falling to Wylie East in the Region II semifinals. Wylie East went on to defeat Frisco in the regional finals and has advanced to the state tournament.
The extended playoff rounds help lessen the sting of last year’s first-round overtime loss to Joshua.
For Legacy head coach Heather Wilson, nothing but pride in her squad was on her mind after the Wylie East game.
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“I’m just really proud of how well our girls did and how they handled themselves in difficult games,” Wilson said. “There’s no quit in them. They’re just fantastic kids and it’s a privilege to coach them.”
Legacy ends the season at 14-4-7.
At the start of the season, Wilson wasn’t sure how good the team could be. The Lady Broncos were putting three freshmen into the game with a lot of sophomores.
“With a younger team, the maturity isn’t there yet and it’s hard to know how they’ll handle a tough loss or a ref call,” Wilson said. “You just don’t know how they’ll react.”
But taking the runner-up spot in the district race said plenty.
“They were surprisingly composed and resilient,” Wilson said. “They would fight back and that level of maturity is not something you can count on. With this team it was ‘no big deal, we got this’ when it came to facing adversity.”
Such was the case when Legacy had to face Red Oak for a third time this season in the playoffs after registering a draw and pulling out a 2-1, last-minute win in district.
Red Oak had made adjustments in the playoff game, but Legacy had the mental toughness to not panic and to adjust.
Wilson noted her girls won with class and dignity, too, as she received a congratulatory text message from the Red Oak coach as well as selected players sending their own words of encouragement to Legacy players.
“It’s great to see that sort of sportsmanship within our district,” Wilson said. “The coach is setting an example for those kids.”
When the win over district rival Red Oak was complete, the Lady Broncos had the potential of facing Lake Ridge in the regional finals, should both teams have won.
As it turned out, both Mansfield ISD teams lost.
“It crossed our mind,” Wilson admitted, “but you have to deal with that when you get to that point.”
It was a testament to District 14-5A that all four teams in the regional semifinals were from the district.
The tough play in district helped Legacy – along with a tough non-district schedule – in the playoffs.
The team this year was 100 percent committed to each other, Wilson said.
“It was special how they came together and played together,” she said. “They don’t always come together as well as it did this year. The influence of the five seniors had a lot to do with it.”
Granted, the five seniors will graduate, but that means a majority of the Lady Broncos will be back.
“Those five are amazing,” Wilson said of her seniors, Ashley Felan, Stevie Riddle, Kihrah Madison, Ari Hernandez and Hailey Murin.
“But we have a lot of kids that are ready to go and feel good about their chances next year,” Wilson added.
True, the players are already looking ahead to next year, and they aren’t overly sad about losing at the juncture of this year.
Wilson, having coached at Legacy since the school’s inception, said this is the farthest the team has gone and hopes it will benefit them next season.
“We will dwell on the positives for the season,” she said. “We will focus on the overall program goals.”