Mansfield Sports

Lady Broncos preparing for return to playoffs

With its 2-1 loss to district leaders Burleson Centennial on Friday, the Legacy girls soccer team’s hopes for the 16-4A title were officially dashed. Still, the Lady Broncos are in position to accomplish the primary goal they had set out for this season – reach the playoffs.

“Our focus now is to make sure that when the playoffs start we are in the best shape that we can possibly be in order to execute,” coach Heather Wilson said.

After missing the postseason in 2013, Legacy made it priority one for this year.

“Coming in, our girls who had been in the program were very adamant about what they wanted. Our team motto has been ‘no unfinished business,’” Wilson said. “That drive has been present the whole season for us. We shouldn’t have missed it last year and we’re not going to miss it this year.”

Losing 13 seniors from last season’s squad, the Lady Broncos knew they would encounter some growing pains, but took advantage of the non-district schedule to come together.

“We knew we were going to be young and there was going to be a lot of learning curve for us,” Wilson said. “They’ve done phenomenal. I’m really proud of this group of kids.”

“At first we were struggling a little bit,” senior goalkeeper Casey McKean added. “But by the start of district we were fully prepared and knew that if we keep playing our best we’d make the playoffs.”

As the keeper, McKean heads up a Lady Broncos defense that has been impressive this season. Through its first 10 district games, Legacy surrendered only six goals to opponents.

“I have a great defensive line in front of me. They do such a good job. They work hard and do their job well,” McKean said. “We pride ourselves on our defense. We step hard to every ball.”

It’s because of that defense that Legacy feels it can prove a tough out for opponents in the playoffs.

“We are really good at high pressure and shutting down opportunities,” Wilson said. “Teams who don’t see a really good defense in their district season may not be as equipped to deal with us, and that’s always helpful.”

McKean agreed, pointing out that their stifling defense can bother even the most potent offenses, in turn creating offensive opportunities for the Lady Broncos.

“Defense is a big advantage,” she said. “It will eventually frustrate them if they can’t get through our defense, and it sets up an opportunity for us to move the ball up and give us a chance to score.”

As Legacy readies for its return the postseason, the team is putting any previous disappointments or accomplishments aside and approaching the playoffs like a completely new season – one in which every team starts fresh with a 0-0 record. And if its defense can continue to clamp down on opposing offenses, the Lady Broncos feel like they have a chance in every game.