WESTMINSTER — Fittingly, it was striker Kelsey Killean who provided the telling strike for the Legacy girls soccer team.
Finding a tired opponent in Fairview that proved far more resilient than those familiar with the Knights’ schedule might have expected, Killean’s goal early in the second half Friday night finally took the fight out of the Knights while lifting the host Lightning to a 3-1 victory at North Stadium.
With the win, Legacy claimed its first Front Range League championship and will await its postseason fate when the state tournament brackets are released on Sunday.
“This was a goal that we set out to achieve, and Fairview, Fort Collins have been on top since I’ve been here,” said David Castro, who is finishing his fourth season as head coach of the Lightning. “We’ve never even been better than four. So it’s quite a few steps we climbed in one season. We played well and have been opportunistic in finding ways to win. Today was the same thing.”
In the game’s opening moments Legacy (13-2, 10-1 FRL) appeared to take advantage of a tired Fairview squad, which was playing its fifth game of the week and its second of the day on Friday following a matinee win against Greeley West. A blast from Lightning senior Sara Goodman, off an assist from Lauren Cook, gave Legacy a one-goal edge late in the fourth minute.
Fairview, however, refused to go down meekly, receiving an answering goal from sophomore Reci Smith less than 6 minutes later.
“We were just really determined, and after they scored that first goal and it was tied, we really knew we had to step it up,” Killean said. “We just really came together as a team to finish it. We definitely did come out thinking they might be tired. But we came out with energy and we got that early goal, but it was kind of upsetting when they got it back right away.”
While Fairview enjoyed several chances late in the first half, the score remained tied 1-1 at halftime. And after the break, it was all Legacy.
Killean, a University of Georgia recruit, put the Lightning in control with a brilliant one-on-one goal in the 49th minute. Working from right to left, Killean weaved across the field and through the Fairview defense before launching a left-footed liner that left no chance for Fairview goalkeeper Avery Tallman.
Fairview’s chances dwindled from there, and Legacy put the game out of reach with an insurance goal from Madison Stone in the 63rd minute.
“I told our team at halftime that we looked like the team that played a game earlier today,” Castro said. “But the second half … the second goal obviously was huge, but with the third one you could see our energy go up even higher. You could kind of feel it was there.”
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Legacy 3, Fairview 1
At North Stadium
Fairview (11-3-1, 8-3) 1 0 — 1
Legacy (13-2, 10-1) 1 2 — 3
Goals (assists) — Legacy: Goodman (Cook), 4th minute; Fairview: Smith (Beetcher), 9th minute; Legacy: Killean, 49th minute; Legacy: Stone, 63r minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Fairview: Tallman (80-3-3); Legacy: Privett (80-1-2.