Ben Franklin senior standout Alex Thomas scored two goals Saturday in the final home game of her high school career, leading the No. 3 Falcons to a 5-1 victory over No. 6 Teurlings Catholic in the Division II girls soccer quarterfinals.
Thomas, an LSU signee, now has 48 goals on the season as Ben Franklin (20-0-2) inched a step closer to its third consecutive state championship.
The Falcons will travel to face No. 2 seed St. Thomas More in the semifinals. It will be a rematch of the 2014 championship match that Ben Franklin won 2-0.
Noelle Higginson also scored two goals and Eleanor Pratt scored the other for the Falcons.
Higginson now has 15 goals on the season and Pratt has 28.
They could have scored more if it wasn’t for a stellar effort by the Teurlings goalkeeper.
“She must have had at least 10 saves,” said Ben Franklin coach Jose Ferrand. “She really kept them in the game. Teurlings worked hard, and they pushed us and we needed that because we hadn’t been pushed in a while.
“I’m proud of our girls for their determination and effort.”
Ben Franklin led 3-0 at halftime, despite what Ferrand calls a sluggish start.
“We looked a little bit exhausted. I don’t know. It could be because it’s Mardi Gras season,” Ferrand said. “We hadn’t played an 11:00 (a.m.) game in a while. They were a little exhausted, but now we have four or five (days) to rest and get ready for St. Thomas More.”
Ben Franklin has outscored its three playoff opponents (Belle Chasse, north DeSoto, Teurlings Catholic) by a combined score of 19-3.
But despite the one-sided playoff scores, Ferrand admits trying to a third straight title has been tough.
“It’s been interesting,” he said. “It’s been hard to get them motivated. But all five of our top players are healthy this year, so that has helped. Most of the games we have had to take them out after the first 20 minutes of the game because I don’t like to run up the scores on teams.”
Now the Falcons turn their attention to a St. Thomas More team that appears to be playing its best soccer in the playoffs.
St. Thomas More beat E.D. White 1-0 Saturday in its quarterfinals match.
St. Thomas More has not allowed a goal in the playoffs, outscoring Pearl River, DeRidder and E.D. White by a combined score of 10-0.