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Lakewood Legacy 89 gain premier status
BELLINGHAM On a rain soaked bog of a field the Lakewood Legacy 89 girls soccer team won a crucial elimination match over FC Alliance White to secure a spot in the U-18 Division III Premier League. An early goal by Talyn Miller was all the scoring the Legacy would need as they held on to a 1-0 advantage for 90 minutes.
Within the first two minutes of the match, Emily Steinborn worked her way free along the left sideline in the attacking portion of the field. She beat an Alliance defender and swung a mid-level cross through the front of the goalmouth that Talyn Miller deflected into the back of the Alliance net for the early lead.
At that point, it looked like the Legacy would be in for an easy victory. They continued to mount pressure on goal as forward Erin Taylor broke through on a number of occasions. In the 20th minute Taylor just missed putting the Legacy ahead 2-0 when her shot from the right wing was tipped up and over the goal bar. Taylor received a pass 25 yards from goal and in the middle of a scrum of players, managed to come down with the ball and wiggle free. She blew by a hapless defender and uncorked a knuckling shot headed for net. Only a fine tip save prevented the score from being 2-0.
The Legacy continued to control the midfield, whipping passes from the center to the wings and generally producing good chances up front. Morgan Galusha and Emily Steinborn, the teams central midfielders, systematically found streaking wings and forwards in the attack. On the left side, winger Melissa Osborne made things look easy as she consistently beat her defender and wreaked havoc on the Alliance back four.
But despite all the offensive pressure, the Alliance goalkeeper kept the Legacy at bay and at halftime the score remained 1-0.
At the start of the second half, the Alliance came out fired up, producing their best chance of the game. Their center forward managed to find some space in a crease in the middle of the Legacy defense. She burst into space and looked to be in the clear. Fortunately hustling sweeper Jeneca Hoidal came racing in from the side to cut down on her angle for a shot and a sprawling Andrea Parlin deflected what would have been the tying goal.
After Parlins strong save, the Legacy returned to their dominant form in midfield. Substitutions up front gave the Legacy a boost as Courtney Prosser rocketed a number of deep shots on goal, forcing the Alliance keeper to make more impressive saves. Haley Bustad also played a powerful role in keeping the Alliance under constant attack. Bustad managed three shots from 20 yards, all on target and forcing the goalie to react. But the best Legacy chance of the second half came from Melissa Osborne, who again beat her mark one on one and broke free toward the Alliance goal. Osborne got within 12 yards of net before slamming a hard shot headed for the top right corner of the goal. Only a quick reaction save from the Alliance goalkeeper kept Osborne from putting the game out of reach.
As the minutes ticked away, the game became testy. Some of the Alliance coaches began whistling for calls from the officials. The referee lost his composure on several occasions, even shouting at players to leave him alone. Several players were warned for dangerous fouls, but no red cards were issued and only two yellow cards were handed out. But as tight as things got, the Legacy defense held strong. Amanda Nunley and Katherine Dietz, the two wide fullbacks, completely shut down the Alliance attack from the wings. It was enough to keep the score 1-0 when the final whistle blew.
With the win, the Legacy join 23 other Washington teams in the Premier leagues.