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Girls soccer: Legacy’s Killean prepped for breakout year as goal-scorer

Legacy's Kelsey Killean.
Legacy’s Kelsey Killean.

BROOMFIELD — When Kelsey Killean goes flying down the flank, dusting defenses in the process, it is hard to imagine the Legacy junior soccer player doing anything else.

The junior’s athleticism and aggressiveness made her one of her team’s most dangerous attackers a year ago. As potent as Killean was up top for the Lightning, most colleges were not interested in her ability to create offense. They wanted her to stop it.

She was pigeonholed as a backfield player from her defensive work with her Olympic Development Program team. It made for a bumpy recruiting process at points last season, but an easy decision in the end for the forward.

When the University of Georgia offered Killean a spot in its attack, she went after it with her trademark speed.

“They were one of the few teams that came and saw me play offense,” she said. “They came and saw our game against Fossil Ridge and felt I fit into their system.”

David Castro is certain Georgia has found a player who has the potential to light up the SEC two years from now. That is in part because the Legacy coach believes he might have one of the most dangerous goal-scorers in the state with Killean.

While she was productive a year ago, finishing with a team-high 12 goals, Castro felt the recruiting process distracted the forward from reaching her full potential. But with all that behind her, the coach expects his junior to set the pitch on fire this year.

“It could be a year where she contends as the state’s top goal scorer,” the coach said.

Castro also plans on spreading Killean around the field, moving her off the flank and allowing her to create in the middle and out of the back. The forward was not spooked about attempting to net goals from different positions, but she expresses a preference of scoring from the outside.

No matter where Killean attacks from, she won’t be alone in helping her team create the offense it needs to push past last year’s finish in the Class 5A quarterfinals. With the finishing ability of seniors Lauren Cook and Michaela Vadeboncoeur, Castro foresees one of the Lightning’s most dangerous offenses in a spell.

“Lauren is deadly accurate on the cross and is a good, fast decision maker,” the coach said. “And Michaela is a good, solid attacking forward who can take the ball down the field.”

The only area of the Lightning’s attack that had the potential to take some time to gel is its midfield. Kelli Drobney — now playing for Boise State University — left a hole in the center midfield. But Killean is more than certain the Lightning have the personnel to close the gap.

“I feel Brooklyn (Mooney) is the same type of player as Kelli,” Killean said. “So we’ll do fine.”

Even if some newer faces take some time to fit into the offense, Castro is not worried about his team’s prospects. Legacy historically has been a defensive powerhouse, recording 10 shutouts a year ago.

“As a group, we’ve always defended well,” he said. “It will continue to be our first priority and we should remain strong with three returning backs.”

Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.

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