DENVER — Soccer giveth, soccer taketh away.
No. 7 Legacy was dealt heartbreak Wednesday night in the Class 5A semifinals at the University of Denver campus as 11-seed Grandview’s JT Sus snapped a scoreless game in the 79th minute to lift the Wolves into the finals.
It’s the kind of moment the Lightning had been accustomed to handing out to others this postseason. They rolled into their first semifinals appearance in program history on the strength of three consecutive game-winning goals from junior forward Cooper Stephens.
On the wrong end of it this time, Sus took a crossing pass from Conrad Casebolt and headed it past keeper Ryan Nun with 1:41 remaining.
The final seconds wore off with a wild celebration on one end of midfield, and frozen shock on the other.
“We’ve had some really close, big, powerful wins and some games like tonight,” Legacy coach Tony Romano said. “Today we were on the wrong side of it. Such is life.”
The teams traded a few looks throughout regulation, including a pair of on-target chances in the opening half that were turned away by the respective keepers — Nun and Grandview’s Nikhil Patel — and sent up and over the net.
The last 10 minutes then loosened up.
Legacy’s fairytale run was nearly scrapped a few minutes sooner as its best chance up that point came at the exact moment the DU campus clock rang in 7 p.m.
Striking the bell once, then twice, Charlie Lucero launched a laser chance on net that appeared headed for the top corner. Nun leaped at it and got enough of his hand on it to flick it off target.
The Wolves continued to apply late pressure, leading up to Sus’ seventh goal of the year.
“It was a beautiful header just right into the post and in,” Nun said. “It was amazing. It was definitely a goal I’m OK ending our season on because that was a fantastic goal for sure.”
Legacy had been the lone 5A area team remaining following its second-round, double-overtime win over No. 10 Broomfield.
No. 1 Boulder, six-seeded Silver Creek and No. 24 Fairview were all ousted, yet the Lightning stood strong on clutch finishes of Stephens as he scored winners over Ralston Valley, Broomfield and Denver East.
Coming in, Grandview, winners of the 5A/4A Centennial League, survived a double-overtime scare against Regis Jesuit in the first round before trumping Silver Creek and No. 14 Mountain Vista in regulation.
The Wolves will face the winner of Wednesday’s late semifinal between No. 17 Fossil Ridge and No. 5 Castle View. The finals are set for Saturday morning at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs.