ARNAUDVILLE — In one of the top boys soccer matchups of the season thus far, Beau Chene edged visiting Catholic High-New Iberia 2-1 on Friday night.
“This was a huge game,” Beau Chene coach Chad Vidrine said. “This is the first real full game, nontournament game against a top team that we have played and won. It shows our boys what they will be up against later this season and in the playoffs.”
Beau Chene (5-1-1) flirted with scoring its first goal at around the 19-minute mark.
Senior midfielder David Smith blasted a penalty kick to the right post as he tried to set up John-Morgan Eaglin for a header. The sophomore forward’s shot missed the mark, but two minutes later the Gators found the back of the net.
With a sneaky assist by senior midfielder Garrett Judice, Beau Chene sophomore Landon Guidry powered the ball past Catholic-New Iberia goalie TJ Norris for a 1-0 lead.
CHSNI (9-1-1) looked like it might be shut out in the opening half as the Panthers struggled to get clean shots on goal. Noah Broussard had a chance with a shot along the back line at the 8:10 mark, as did midfielder Berkley Louiviere’s corner kick and Steven Champ’s shot attempt toward the left post from about 18 yards out.
That all changed for CHSNI in the extra time right before the horn sounded for half. With a congestion of players in front of the goal, Adam Mania snuck around the group and knocked in a header for the Panthers’ first goal of the contest to tie it at 1-1.
“We have been working on the timing of our runs for about 25-30 minutes this week,” CHSNI first-year coach Adam Glover said. “We timed that just right.”
CHSNI seemed to carry that momentum over into the second half as the Panthers controlled the ball around midfield. That momentum proved to be short-lived as the Gators broke through that control.
At the 58-minute mark, Eaglin laced a powerful kick from along the left boundary that found the back of the goal for the game-winning goal.
“The first 10 to 15 minutes, we were winning the midfield battle,” Glover said. “Then about 25 seconds before that goal I looked at my assistant and realized that momentum was gone.”
“You have to give credit to their defense,” Guidry said. “John-Morgan usually has a lot more shots on goal than what he had tonight. They held our shots on goal way down.”
CHSNI had one final chance at tying the game when Louiviere had a penalty kick set up in extra time. Louiviere’s kick sailed over the top of the goal.
CHSNI, ranked No. 1 in Division IV rankings, returns to action next Friday against Barbe in the St. Louis tournament, while Beau Chene, ranked No. 4 in Division II rankings, gears up for six games in the next week. The Gators will host Opelousas Catholic and North Vermilion before the Louisiana Showcase of Soccer tournament next weekend in Lake Charles.
“I thought we moved the ball well tonight but we got away with some errors that we won’t be able to do come playoff time,” Guidry said. “Hopefully we can work on that this week and keep improving.”