WESTMINSTER — There was almost something prophetic in Legacy girls soccer’s practice regimen this week.
Coach David Castro has not been pleased with the way the fourth-ranked Class 5A team has performed on corner kicks. In turn, he dedicated a better part of Monday’s practice to mastering set pieces, almost half the workout to be exact.
Right on cue, a day later the sweat over the minutia of the game paid huge dividends for the team. Kelsey Killean netted Legacy a 1-0 win over Boulder, all initiated off a well-orchestrated corner kick in overtime.
“It paid off,” the Lightning’s University of Georgia recruit said. “It was perfect service to set up the play.”
Killean’s second shot on frame came in a load of Panthers traffic, but was executed to perfection from the striker’s perspective. Lauren Cook got the play rolling from the corner, then Jasmine Beaulieu set up Legacy’s game-winner in the 82nd minute.
“She just got it back to me and I one-touch finished it,” Killean said.
The goal also ended what has been a dramatic run for Legacy (12-2, 9-1) through its conference schedule. The team is enjoying one of its best recent seasons and any other year would have had its state tournament berth locked up. But with the league only being awarded four automatic state spots instead of six this year, it took until the Lightning’s second-to-last game Tuesday to seal its place in the postseason.
“It was more motivation for us though,” Castro said. “It put us in a playoff atmosphere, knowing you have to win to keep going.”
Legacy also still has a shot at a league title, but does not control its own fate. The team must win out against third-ranked Fairview (9-2-1, 6-2) on Friday. But it then must hope that someone beats or ties Fossil Ridge — the only conference team to knockoff the Lighting this season.
“We still need some help, maybe from Boulder (against Fossil Ridge),” Castro said. “But I don’t know if they’ll be too keen on it.”
The loss puts the pressure on Boulder in making the playoffs. The team has little wiggle room as it storms through the final two games of the season.
“We must win one of the next two for sure and probably both of them,” Boulder coach Ryan Henkel said.
The Panthers (6-6-1, 6-3) appeared ready to gain a foothold on their playoff berth in the second half Thursday. The team came out of intermission aggressive and on the attack, laying four shots on frame. One of the team’s final attempts by Sara Pykkonen almost had Boulder ready to celebrate. But it was a hair too shallow going wide of the goal.
“We thought we were the better team coming into halftime,” Henkel said. “We thought we outplayed a very strong Legacy team. We felt like we were going to win the game, but that’s not always the way it goes, is it?”
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Legacy 1, Boulder 0
At Mountain Range H.S.
Boulder (6-6-1, 6-3) 0 0 0 — 0
Legacy (12-2, 9-1) 0 0 1 — 1
Goals (assists) — Legacy: Kelsey Killean (Jasmine Beaulieu), 82nd minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Boulder: Katherine Simpson-Johnson (80-1-9). Legacy: Samantha Privett (80-0-6).