WESTMINSTER — Fast and aggressive, Kelsey Killean has made a name for herself as one of Class 5A’s top attackers. But the junior striker for 10th-ranked Legacy relied on something besides her athleticism to net her final goal Tuesday afternoon.
Serendipity earned Killean her fourth goal of the season in her team’s Front Range League opener against Rocky Mountain. And having the ball take a lucky bounce off North Stadium’s turf could not have come at more advantageous time for Killean or her team.
Her play in the final minute of the game gave Legacy a 2-1 win over the Lobos in a game Killean was certain up to that point was going to end in a tie.
“But we didn’t give up and it paid off in the end,” the University of Georgia recruit said.
When Killean netted what turned out to be Legacy’s game-winner in the 79th minute, she was not even attempting to place a shot on frame. Instead, the junior was trying to keep the ball away from the converging Lobos’ defense and construct an assist in the meantime.
The ball, however, never made it to its destination, with the cross careening off a Rocky Mountain defenseman’s shins and into the net.
“I didn’t even see it initially get diverted to the goal, I only saw it hit the back of the net,” she said. “But it was the best feeling ever, scoring with 50 seconds left.”
The score came 68 minutes after Killean’s opening goal and 60 minutes after Rocky Mountain’s equalizer. Legacy (3-0, 1-0) remained composed and aggressive after Morgan Abbitt hit the Lobos’ lone goal of the game. But the breaks just did not go the Lightning’s way.
The most frustrating moment came when Michaela Vadeboncoeur appeared to be tripped in Rocky Mountain’s box. The play, which drew a yellow card on the Lobos (0-1, 0-1), had Legacy set to capture the win off a penalty kick. But while Vadeboncoeur was lining up for the PK, the referees determined the penalty happened out of the box and repositioned the ball for a direct kick.
Legacy coach David Castro was not pleased with missing a golden opportunity, but believed the call woke something up in his team.
“You could see it in their body language,” Castro said. “They were not happy about it and picked it up even more. They were not going to be denied.”
Castro was impressed with his team responding to adversity, but even more so with it coming on the heels of a tough win the night before. After coming up with a 3-0 victory over sixth-ranked Heritage (0-2), the coach wondered if his team would have the juice it would need to ice the Lobos.
“It was an intense game (against Heritage), even if the score didn’t show it,” he said. “Our depth on the bench proved really helpful today.”
The Lightning are flying high with a 3-0 kickoff to their schedule, with two wins coming against ranked opponents. Some players believe the perfect start has the makings of a special year for the team.
“This feels like it might be our year,” Killean said. “And that’s really exciting.”
Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.
Legacy 2, Rocky Mountain 1
At North Stadium
Rocky Mountain (0-1, 0-1) 1 0 — 1
Legacy (3-0, 1-0) 1 1 — 2
Goals (assists) — Legacy: Kelsey Killean (Michaela Vadeboncoeur), 12th minute; Rocky Mountain: Morgan Abbitt (unassisted), 20th minute; Legacy: Kelsey Killean (Ariana Jimenez), 79th minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Rocky Mountain: Michelle Kennedy (80-2-4). Legacy: Samantha Privett (80-1-7).