As the Lady Lighting soccer team (10-5-1) traveled to Shea Stadium May 8 in the opening round of the 5A state tournament in the brisk and damp elements, Rock Canyon (14-3, No. 16 seed) escaped Legacy …
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As the Lady Lighting soccer team (10-5-1) traveled to Shea Stadium May 8 in the opening round of the 5A state tournament in the brisk and damp elements, Rock Canyon (14-3, No. 16 seed) escaped Legacy in extra time to move on to the second round. With a 1-1 score in regulation time and through two overtimes, the Lady Jaguars stole one away with the 4-2 advantage in the shootout.
“It’s a funny game because there are so many times where you can look at this and say `we could have done this, we could have done that,’” Legacy coach Luke Meadows said after the gut-wrenching defeat. “I told the girls, if you do everything you possibly can, you can’t feel sorry for the result, because you did everything you could. In fairness, I thought we were there. We were just that close. It’s just an unfortunate way to go out.”
Starting the scoring, Rock Canyon senior Lauren Durbin tallied the first in the 5th minute. Both teams delivered their punches in the frame, but RC sustained the shots on goal edge 5-3 going to halftime.
Legacy wouldn’t lay down in half No. 2 as their aggressive defense sparked the squad. Allowing Rock Canyon into their zone just a handful of times, senior Emma Keaser, junior Brooke Kercher-Pratt, and sophomore Grace Sommers anchored the talented Lady Lighting group.
The only problem, however, is the No. 17 seed needed to put the goal in the back of the net, and finally 15 minutes into the second half, junior Makayla Merlo converted to things up.
“The defense has been stellar. In my five years, this has been the best defense in terms of goals against them. The good news, I guess in regards to a silver-lining is we return a lot of good players,” Meadows said. “A lot of players that have contributed a lot of minutes, that includes in the back (defense). Looking forward to next year, we are going to miss our seniors like crazy, but at the same time, we are going to come back and give it everything we have. I think we are going to be just as competitive or even more so next year.”
Riding a wave of momentum for the rest of the half, Legacy attempted two more shots (6-4) than Rock Canyon but just missed on close scoring chances. In overtime one and two, the Lady Lightning continued their forward push, but RC senior goaltender Dani vonLembke wouldn’t budge. She didn’t in the shootout either.
The game took a turn when Legacy missed their first two shootout opportunities, and Rock Canyon made theirs. Hoping to keep the game alive, Legacy converted their third attempt from sophomore Sydni Thompson. Next up for Legacy, freshman Madison Allshouse made her shot, but it was too late. Going 4-for-4 in the shootout, Durbin, senior Emily Cottrell, freshman Cate Sheahan, and junior Abby Drabing respectively ended a spectacular season for Legacy.
The ten seniors of Katie Dunbabin, Jonatha Tighe, Alyssa Johnson, Macey LeVasseur, Jackie Coffman, Miranda Sanchez, Ryan Avram Nora Spuler, Analisa Carmosino Kailey Maness, and Keaser left their mark on the program and their coach. They’re success and leadership won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
“It’s invaluable (the senior class on what they have meant to the Legacy program). Every coach has their way of doing things. There is no right way, there is no wrong way, and our job is that we all feel like we can conquer the world and every team, every program, every project becomes its own kind of ball of clay you want to form and shape your own way,” Meadows said. “In doing this, these seniors, this is my first 8th-grade class that came in and that I saw at the 8th grade information night, and they helped to transform this program into what it is. In the way we prepare, the way we train, the way we communicate, everything they do, they transformed the program into what I needed it to be and wanted it to be. I owe them more than they know.”
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