The Legacy girls soccer team accomplished its primary goal for the season – making the playoffs – and was less than three minutes from advancing to the area round. But a late rally by Joshua and a goal late in the final overtime period sent the Lady Broncos home for the 2014 season.
Legacy led 1-0 after a 25th minute goal from Peyton McGee. Danielle Hightower played a long free kick into the Joshua area and it fell to the feet of McGee, who was able to slide it just past the Lady Owls’ sprawling goalkeeper.
The Broncos defense stifled Joshua until the 78th minute, when the Lady Owls equalized to force overtime. Legacy was awarded a penalty kick midway through the second overtime period, but Nevin Rodriguez’s shot was saved and Joshua’s subsequent counterattack led to the game-winning goal with about five minutes remaining.
“It’s always disappointing to lose, especially like that when you have ‘what if’ questions kind of swirling around. But I was really proud of them nonetheless,” Legacy coach Heather Wilson said. “Obviously, we were real disappointed because when you have goals called back and you have opportunities that you just don’t capitalize on, it’s always frustrating. But I feel like we played really well. The girls played hard and they played for each other, which are the things we ask of our kids.”
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Wilson also pointed out the character her squad showed after surrendering the late goal that forced the overtime session.
“Soccer is that way,” she said. “You can play really hard and then the tide can turn in a heartbeat. I think it was interesting to watch our kids react because they really pushed harder and harder after that. They didn’t let up and quit, which they could have. To see them react that way, that was great.”
For senior goalkeeper Casey McKean, the range of emotions was difficult to deal with.
“We were all so excited,” she said about Legacy taking the lead in the first half. “I really wish it had gone differently. It was devastating since we were winning almost the whole game.”
The Lady Broncos felt good about where they were entering the match. They were coming off a 1-0 victory against Summit.
“We went into the Summit game saying this was a must-win for us, that we needed the momentum heading into the postseason, and how you respond to this is kind of going to set the tone for us. They stepped up against Summit and played like it was a playoff game,” Wilson said. “We were feeling good and confident and prepared.”
Despite the frustrating end to the season, the Lady Broncos are able to look back at the year as a success.
“It’s always fun to see a group of kids come together and find their way, and how their team will function and what kind of team they’ll be. That can change from year to year as you graduate seniors and bring in new kids.”
Among the highlights for Wilson this year was the team’s fast start.
“Being able to start off the season as strongly as we did and laying a good foundation, I really enjoyed that,” she said.
Wilson also praised the efforts of McKean.
“Our senior goalkeeper had an amazing season,” Wilson commented. “I think she allowed 14 goals in all of district, which is phenomenal, especially since we didn’t score a ton. That was a key component of our success; seeing her be successful in her final year with us was really great.”
McKean is also able to see the positives from the Lady Broncos’ season as a whole
“It was a very successful season. Making the playoffs was our number one goal and we accomplished that. We accomplished a lot and I’m very proud of my team for that,” she said.
Wilson already has an eye on next year. She feels like a solid foundation will be returning, including freshman McGee, who played several positions for the Lady Broncos this year as a newcomer.
“Seeing some of our younger kids come in and step up that were on JV last year was also a lot of fun because they fit in kind of seamlessly and kind of made the team their own. That’s also fun to watch, to see them come in and contribute,” Wilson said. “I’m really excited about our team for next year. We’ve got a lot of kids coming back to the varsity, which will be great.”
Wilson thinks those returning players next season can take a lot from the fire in this senior class.
“They were a very passionate group,” she said. “They all really want to meet their goals and were all really willing to put forth the effort to do it. They all have very different personalities and went about it differently, but watching them come together and reach the goal they had ultimately set, I think it’s a good example for our team that you don’t have to do everything the same way. As long as you work together, we can all get where we want to go.”