Considering what Legend Soccer Club 2005 had accomplished, no fear was necessary.
The legend continued to win as she has done all season. The Newark-based club, led by a core group of Licking County stars, went the distance over the weekend, taking second place in the U.S. National Club Soccer Cup.
“I’ve always had faith in our team,” said Newark Catholic junior Mayci Sayre, who plays for Newark in the fall. “We prepared as we should have and we believed in ourselves. We had obviously never been there, but we knew our potential. Obviously, we would have liked to win, but I’m just super proud. It was even an honor to be in the final game.
Legend lost 3-1 in overtime to North Oaks (Minnesota) in Monday’s U-17 Super Group Championship game. Legend previously finished 3-0 in pool, beating the Arkansas Comets 4-2, Rush Pikes Peak (Colorado) 5-1 and Minnesota Thunder Academy 4-0.
Legend finished the season 24-1-1, previously winning state and regional championships. It was the first domestic spot for a team at the club, which coach Scott Forster started in 2015 and now co-manages with Zeke Hegenberger.
“We got on really well this year,” said Avery Williams of Licking Valley. “Being new to the team, I felt really welcome. It was just a really cool experience to have.”
Sayre and Williams each scored during the tournament, as did Lyndy Van Horn of Granville, Ava Lalocki, Hope Mahl and Allison Tarone and Allie Dunlap of Heath. Licking Heights’ Savanna Cronin and Watkins Memorial’s Anna Dudas led the way on a defense that helped Dover’s Addie Martin record a shutout.
The rest of the list includes Izzy Lauffer from Granville, Rowan Hughes from Heath, Riley Cruper from Cambridge, Maddie Jackson from Bloom-Carroll, Abby Brownhill from New Albany, Kylie Lewis from Gahanna, Abby Colvin from Westerville South and Meredith Johnson from Westerville Central .
“It was fun to see everyone in their element,” said Williams, who will be a sophomore this fall and was one of the youngest players on the roster. “Playing for a club is obviously a high-level competition. I have improved and being surrounded by the team helps me.”
It wasn’t all work for Legend players and their families. They went white water rafting as a team and visited Rocky Mountain National Park.
The legend, however, had business at hand. On the club’s first opportunity at the top level in the country, the players certainly did not disappoint.
“Just that in itself is such an honor and definitely puts our name on the map,” Sayre said. “Just being part of this team and having the incredible coaches and the support of the parents, it was an honor.”