Last year’s campaign for Legacy women’s soccer under six-year head coach Luke Meadows went exceptionally well, with 10-5-1 record and a 5A state playoff berth. Despite losing 11 seniors, the …
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Last year’s campaign for Legacy women’s soccer under six-year head coach Luke Meadows went exceptionally well, with 10-5-1 record and a 5A state playoff berth.
Despite losing 11 seniors, the ceiling for this well-oiled machine heading into 2020 could hit a whole different level of success.
“I’ve heard from some people around that `Oh man, this must be a rebuilding year.’ We did lose the largest signing class in all of Colorado soccer last year, but at the same time, we really only lost four starters last year,” Meadows said last week in a phone interview. “We do return a bulk of who we had that were starters last year.”
Headlining the leadership roles for this talented group, seniors Makayla Merlo, Brooke Kercher-Pratt, and Ellie Sommers will take on captain roles.
With two other seniors also located throughout the 22-team roster, their presence and patience will crucial as the team grows throughout the year.
“It’s a good talented senior class, but one thing that looks a little bit different is how evenly spread out we are,” Meadows said. “We have eight juniors, four sophomores, and five freshmen. Also, the five freshmen that we have are not just charity spots that we have given up. We could be better this year than we were last year by some distance. We graduated a lot of very good players, but this year, I think we are going to be really good.”
Both top goal-scorers from a season ago return in junior Danielle Gonzales and Merlo. At the same time, freshman sharp-shooter Kendall Rippley enters the fold fresh from the US Soccer Development Academy. Meadows is excited about moving Merlo to more of an attacking position in his offense to pair with Rippley, who he thinks could lead the conference in scoring. “She will add a very potent attacking presence.”
Teaming up with her fellow freshman counterpart, playmakers Sophia Varga, Kylie Hoffman, Katey Beaver, and Mia Tuka will also get runs in the lineup as playing time looks to be competitive for all players on the roster. Healthy competition, however, should bring the best out of the Lady Lightning for the duration of hopefully a long season.
“Some of these freshmen coming in are not only going to give us more depth but also give us more flexibility. We are set up right now. It’s the beginning of something that I think has longer-term ramifications other than just this year. Obviously, we lose some pretty impactful seniors at the end of this year, but by the same token, we have so many girls - even at the junior varsity level - that your heart just goes out to because you know they deserve something more than what’s considered a JV spot. I had a number of meetings last night at the end of our tryouts to say, `just a heads up, I’m not going to put 30 girls on varsity because I know you deserve it type of thing.’ We are pretty well set-up when it comes to talent; we are not going to be an easy out for anybody. I think there is a good buzz about the program while the girls are in a really good spot mentally, physically, and everyone has bought in.”
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