WESTMINSTER — Joey Joiner gave Legacy the goal it needed to beat Aurora Central 1-0 in the first round of the Class 5A boys soccer playoffs.
"What makes good players great players is finding the right moments to find a stroke of brilliance, and Joey did exactly that tonight," Legacy coach Anthony Romano said. "He did an unbelievable job in a critical to put one on the frame."
Joiner popped the ball up with his head just enough off of a corner from Dustin Rittenhouse to get it over the outstretched hands of Aurora Central's Esteban Tavira-Ramirez and into the back of the net.
"Set piece, it's me jumping over you," Romano said. "It's that simple."
Added Joiner: "I trusted our coach with the call when he called our play. I was just glad it went right to me and I was able to get a head on it. I got lucky and hit the crossbar and in."
Legacy will face Far Northeast in the second round of the Class 5A boys soccer playoffs.
"I told the boys before, in the locker room, that this game was going to be less about tactical and technical soccer, and more about preparation and willingness to compete," Romano said. "In the end that's what made the difference: continuing to show some grit."
Joiner lead's Legacy in both goals and assists this season, and stepped up once again to provide the offense.
The Lightning controlled the majority of chances in the first half, slowly ratcheting up the offensive output as the game went on.
"We really got fired up in our locker room," Joiner said. "I think our team was really pumped up. We kept that going into the second half. We kept dominating after that half."
In the seventh minute, Dustin Rittenhouse put a shot on goal that was saved easily by Tavira-Ramirez.
Moments later, Aurora Central cleared a Legacy corner.
Then, Legacy turned it up.
"We had a lot of opportunities at the end of the first half, and couldn't quite find it," Romano said.
Jordan Swinhart shot wide right from just in front of the net in the 31st minute.
Joey Joiner shot a rocket that hit off the cross bar in the 33rd minute. Legacy controlled the ball off the rebound and sent a low cross in front of the net.
Joiner was there again, but saw his saw his shot go deflect off a defender and out of bounds.
Off of a set play in the 37th minute, Noah Stover sent a ball from the corner, and Stephen Goth corralled the ball around the 18. Goth blasted a shot just over the crossbar.
"It built confidence. That's our gameplan," Romano said. "When we stuck to the gameplan, we started creating chance after chance after chance."
The Lightning didn't see any results on the scoreboard from the offensive assault, but used the momentum to slot the winning goal in the second half.
"Keep playing hard," Joiner said on coming out motivated. "Try to outplay the other team. Want it more."
The back line was great for Legacy as they rarely allowed Aurora Central inside the 18.