Girls soccer: Legacy seniors getting the band together for one last run

  • Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    From left, Legacy girls soccer captains Kailey Maness, Katie Dunbabin and Analisa Carmosino pose for a photo before a practice this week at Legacy High. The Lightning boast nine seniors signed to play at the next level, and hopes are high coming out of the Front Range League. Visit BoCoPreps.com for more photos.

  • Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Legacy's Brooke Kercher-Pratt, center, takes a shot on goal during an indoor practice at Legacy on Monday.

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It’s time again for the high school girls soccer season, where some of the best players in the state will take the pitch and don their school colors with pride.

And some won’t.

Of course, if you’re looking to ruffle feathers in your local soccer community, flailing your arms while having a contentious debate about the roles of development academies, club teams and student athletes is a good place to start.

But if you’re just seeking some next-level talent, maybe check out Legacy High School.

The Lightning return a talented senior class, boasting nine 2019 graduates who are already committed to play in college. A huge number, considering it’s the largest pool of senior girls’ soccer commits by any school in the state, per CHSAANow.com‘s recruiting tab.

And with all the other options available for next-level teenage athletes these days — some of the top players in the state play club soccer in lieu of their high school teams in the spring — it’s a welcome sight for Legacy.

“I feel like a lot of us have been dedicated to the program the past three years and we wanted to come back and make our senior seasons special,” said Fort Lewis-bound forward Analisa Carmosino, who also goes by the nickname “Boots”. “We just wanted to play with each other for another season.”

Goalkeeper Katie Dunbabin and midfielder Kailey Maness join Carmosino as senior captains on a team hoping to build off a trip to the state quarterfinals in 2017 and the second round of the bracket last year.

In the fall, Dunbabin and Carmosino will be playing at Fort Lewis in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, while Maness will be at rival Metro State. A bit “crazy” to think about, if you ask them.

“It’s kind of crazy having Katie behind me this year and in a year or so I’ll be trying to score on her,” Maness said. “And Boots, we’ve been soccer teammates since sixth grade, so playing together for so long and then playing against her in college is going to be weird, but also cool.”

Weird, cool — those emotions will have time to play out this spring.

For now, the seniors-led group should be a strong presence in the 5A Front Range League, which has been won by Broomfield the past two years. And if things go right, they could also make a deep run in the 5A postseason, which ended with Grandview on top three of the last four years.

Early-season reports from coach Luke Meadows is his team is deep, close-knit — something on the lines of “All for One, One for All” — and he says he has 22 players vying for varsity minutes.

“Every single one of them could start, and that includes two freshman,” he said.

It’s the kind of depth that builds inner-team competition — between those looking to hold on to their starting spots and those striving for more minutes. And theoretically, it means the Lightning could salvage some wear and tear with game minutes potentially spread around.

“It’s led to more intense practices,” Dunbabin said. “It’s been a goal of ours to keep that competitive environment up in practices as we do in games. I think it’s going to be great and push a lot of us to be better — but it’s definitely a healthy competition.

“We have great chemistry on the team this year. We’re just going to push each other to be better.”

Legacy’s home opener is against Highlands Ranch on Thursday at North Stadium.

Brent W. New: bwnew@prairiemountainmedia.com or twitter.com/BrentWNew