LAFAYETTE -- Michaela Vadeboncoeur has played on some strong teams during her four years at Legacy. But when pressed, the senior believes this year's Lightning girls soccer team takes the cake.
From what the striker has seen so far in the early season, her team can out-hustle, out-shoot and out-defend any squad on the pitch. But Tuesday night, Vadeboncoeur pointed to another asset fueling her third-ranked team to its latest victory.
Legacy's opportunism is what the senior believes earned her team a 1-0 victory at Monarch and kept it undefeated on the season. Without the Lightning laying it on the line early in their second Front Range League match of the year, the team could have been in trouble.
All indications pointed to the scrappy Coyotes going the distance.
"We definitely needed to take chances tonight," Vadeboncoeur said. "They came ready to play. But we just pushed through and figured out a way to win."
The forward provided Legacy (4-0, 2-2) its winning margin midway through the first half on an improbable attack.
Initially, Monarch (1-3, 0-1) appeared to have dodged a bullet in its Front Range League opener, after the senior fired off a shot in the 19th minute from around 20-yards out. The ball was just off frame, ricocheting off the cross bar. But the angle at which it bounced carried the ball into the net for the goal.
The play had the Lightning heaving a collective sigh after a string off attacks before and after the goal found few cracks in the Coyotes' defense.
"They played a 4-5-1, packed it in and didn't really try to play forward," Legacy coach David Castro said. "The wanted to keep it within range and they did."
The showing by Eric Schmidt's backfield pleased the coach, given that the defense has taken the brunt of the team's litany of injuries. At one point this season, the Coyotes had eight girls nursing bumps and bruises. On Tuesday, the team had six out -- three on defense.
"I had junior varsity players who really stepped it up filling in tonight," the coach said.
While the injuries have stung, Schmidt believes they should be a distant memory by the start of the next month.
"We expect to get about everyone back after spring break," he said.
Legacy might only have been able to find the back of the net once on the evening, but the team gave the Coyotes few looks in return. Monarch finished the night with no shots on goal, with the Lightning mid and backfields playing inspired.
The closest Monarch got to slipping the ball in the net came off a set piece at the end of the first half. Emiko Patterson had a line on Legacy's net on her direct kick, but just went a tad high. Even with a miss on the goal, the Coyotes believed the play was the start of bigger things on the attack.
"It lifted our momentum," Patterson said. "We really felt like we had a chance after that play."
Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.
Legacy 1, Monarch 0
At Monarch H.S.
Legacy (4-0, 2-0) 1 0 -- 1
Monarch (1-3, 0-1) 0 0 -- 0
Goals (assists) -- Legacy: Michaela Vadeboncouer (unassisted), 19th minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) -- Legacy: Samantha Privett (80-0-0). Monarch: Kaylee Mickens (80-1- 12).