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Girls soccer: Juliauna Hayward shines as Legacy beats Boulder

The Lightning snap a two-game losing skid

BOULDER, CO - MAY 27: Teammates congratulate Legacy sophomore Kendall Rippley (22) after scoring against Boulder on Thursday, May 27, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)
BOULDER, CO – MAY 27: Teammates congratulate Legacy sophomore Kendall Rippley (22) after scoring against Boulder on Thursday, May 27, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. (Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer)

With the first half dwindling away and opponent Boulder again within reach Thursday night, Legacy’s Juliauna Hayward lined up her shot with her back to the net.

With a pair of defenders bothering her as she boxed them out atop the box, the junior, in almost the spirit of an NBA-turnaround jumper, then flipped around and swished.

“When I saw that I had space between the two defenders, I knew I had to take the shot,” said Hayward, whose chance arced over Boulder keeper Alex Smith to replenish the lead back to two goals.

Hayward scored twice, as did Kendall Rippley on a night where she also had to play goalie for a brief sequence, and the Lightning bounced back from back-to-back overtime losses to beat Boulder at Christian Recht Field, 5-2.

Legacy (4-2, 4-2 5A Front Range League), ranked 11th in the coaches poll, saw early chances fall hastily against the Panthers (3-3, 3-3), with two inside the first 10 minutes and 16 seconds. Then following an expert penalty kick goal from Boulder’s Eve Bleam, Hayward answered with a fallaway dagger in the 36th minute — before nearly making it a hat trick on a no-look header a while later — and the Lightning added two more in the second half to seal the win.

The avalanche of scoring followed a tough stretch of missed chances for Legacy.

Last week, the Lightning connected on just one in a double overtime loss to eighth-ranked Rocky Mountain as Lobos keeper Tori Richie was credited with 16 saves. Then Tuesday, in a game it ran up against No. 1 Broomfield, an unfriendly post in the waning seconds of regulation also nixed a chance at victory, and eventually, they fell in the final minutes of the first extra period.

“I think the high school season has been interesting because it’s so short,” the Lightning’s first-year coach Heather Solar said. “I’m trying to get them to play my kind of style. I want them pressing. I want them to be aggressive. I want them attacking in numbers. So that was important to put in today … and I felt like they did that.”

Legacy opened the scoring in the 8th minute on Hayward’s first of the night. The junior, a developmental academy player, was playing in just her third high school game. She fended off a defender as she scooted inside the left of the box and dribbled a winner outside the reach of keeper Smith to make it 1-0.

Rippley added to it a little more than two minutes later. Her shot from just outside the right corner of the box splashed the far net.

Boulder, though, answered on a strange series of events that saw Legacy keeper Shay Kercher-Pratt briefly come out of the game due to an equipment issue. With her off, and a PK called shortly afterward, Rippley, a forward, then volunteered to take over for it.

She had little chance as Bleam expertly speared the top corner of the net.

“Definitely, I prefer forward,” Rippley cracked after the game. “On my club (team), I’m the field player backup goalie because I’m not afraid to put my body on the line.”

Madison Allshouse added her third goal of the year in the opening minutes of the second half for Legacy. Down 5-1, Boulder’s Kaia Holicky scored her second of the year on a feed from Bleam.

The Lightning are currently behind Broomfield, Rocky Mountain and Fairview, and now are one game ahead of Boulder and Monarch. Teams in the FRL will have to finish inside the top two in league to nab one of the 12 automatic qualifying spots for the condensed, 16-team 5A state postseason bracket. The other four spots will be made up of at-large bids.

Legacy will host Fairview Tuesday, while Boulder is at Monarch.

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