LOUISVILLE — It has been a long time since the Legacy-Monarch girls soccer rivalry has seen anything resembling a blowout.
On Tuesday night on the Monarch pitch, the scoreboard at the end of the night showed a 3-0 win for a steadily improving Legacy squad — but it was nowhere near the breeze of a game that final tally would initially indicate.
Both teams were strong in countering each other's attacks through most of the chilly Front Range League contest, but it was the Lightning who were able to put away a pair of second half goals to reel in another victory and improve to 8-1 this season.
The challenge was immense, Legacy head coach Luke Meadows said, but one the Lightning were ready to embrace after their first setback of the season last week against Fairview.
"Monarch is a team that is very organized and disciplined, and we as a program have to expect that people our going to be taking their best shots at us at times," Meadows said of the game, which put LHS at 5-1 in the FRL. "For Monarch, that means organization gets ramped up a level and discipline, too. The girls did a good job of finishing this game, and it was just a good second half all around for us."
"I think we came out strong, and I think their defense pushed us harder than most teams," said sophomore Erin Hohnstein, who was active around the goal and found the net twice against talented MHS goalie Sophia Chen. "Our defense did a great job of keeping them out, and they found feet to our midfielders and then to our forwards. We were calm and got the ball moving."
The series had seen Monarch (2-4, 1-2) win the past two meetings by scores of 2-0 and 2-1, and the meeting prior to that was a 1-1 draw in 2014. But this contest had Legacy pretty formidable in the run of play from the beginning — thanks to the touch-and-go passing of the attacking group.
Just seven minutes in, 5A's leading goal scorer — Legacy junior Gracie Armstrong — found a chance to cross a ball in close to goal and it eventually found Hohnstein's foot for a 1-0 lead.
Monarch, with Maegan Sours doing everything she could to find chances on the flank, had several opportunities on set pieces through the first half and with the wind at their back were able to get some decent shots on frame. But the Lightning defense was quick to sweep away any chances to connect in the dangerous areas of play.
As the teams went to half with just the one goal scored, Meadows knew his team needed to add some insurance. They got it in the form of a heavy-paced strike from the middle of the field by sophomore Amber Hurtado, a goal just five minutes into the second stanza that boosted the Lightning's effort that much more.
"That was probably the goal of the year for us so far this season," Meadows said, adding Hurtado had another rocket against Fairview almost as brilliant.
Monarch's chances became fewer and farther between, although they continued to get a good countering effort through the midfield, until Legacy put the game away with a Hohnstein penalty kick goal with just eight minutes left.
Chen had to stop Hohnstein a couple other times on her way to seven saves. Mackiewicz had five saves for Legacy.
"I think the work of the whole team to get that first goal was great, and I felt like we got on a little bit of a roll after that," said Hohnstein, who now has seven goals. "Amber's goal really got us excited and wanting to get another one."
Legacy hosts Boulder on Thursday, while Monarch has a chance to get back on track hosting Horizon.
Legacy 3, Monarch 0
At Monarch HSLegacy (8-1, 5-1)12—3Monarch (2-4, 1-2)
Goals (assists) —Legacy: Erin Hohnstein (Amber Hurtado assist), 7th minute; Legacy: Hurtado (unassisted), 45th; Legacy: Hohnstein (penalty kick), 72nd.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Legacy: Halle Mackiewicz (80-0-5); Monarch: Sophia Chen (80-3-7).