LAFAYETTE — The Ascension Episcopal girls soccer team could never get going in its regional playoff game against Newman, losing 4-0 on Monday.
The Lady Blue Gators struggled from the beginning, conceding a goal in the 10th minute and were never able to dig out of the early hole.
Ascension Episcopal coach Adrian Boyle said giving up the early goal changed the game for his team and gave Newman confidence.
“I thought (Newman) came out very strong, but the first 10 minutes were quite even,” Boyle said. “But the goal made a difference. We talk about that a lot, goals change games, and this was no different.”
Ascension Episcopal conceded again in the 20th minute after a passing move culminated in a point blank finish for Newman sophomore forward Sophie Andry.
Boyle said Newman’s ability to get down the left side of his defense was the key to the match, with three of the Greenies’ four goals coming off on crosses from Newman sophomore right winger Frances Sperling.
“It was a very good goal, and then the two goals in the second half came from the same source with a similar finish,” Boyle said. “They definitely made the most of their chances in that sense.”
Newman controlled the game from the midfield, playing at the tempo it wanted to play and stifling Ascension Episcopal’s ability to attack.
Boyle said the Greenies were well organized, but wished his team would have applied more pressure to their backline and midfield players.
“The midfield used the ball well and looked to get it wide, they used both wings well,” Boyle said. “There were times when we were kind of chasing shadows.”
“I felt like we could’ve gotten tighter to them to create a little more pressure to force some mistakes, but that’s easy for me to say from the sideline.”
The Lady Blue Gators went into halftime down 2-0, but Boyle thought his team was could still come back and take the victory.
Boyle pushed Sarah Beadle, Ascension Episcopal’s creative hub throughout the match, further forward wanting to get an early goal to pull his team back into the game.
“I felt at halftime we were well in it,” Boyle said. “The next goal was always going to be very crucial, and then the second half started and both teams just kind of drifted. Nothing seemed to be happening for either team.”
Ascension Episcopal’s best chance came with 10 minutes remaining off a set piece but they couldn’t finish as a free header from inside the six-yard box sailed over the goal.
Boyle said the header could have provided his team with spark it needed.
The game was put to rest shortly after the missed chance, with Andry collecting her third goal of the game on a close range header off a cross from Sperling.
“That third goal was really the nail in our coffin,” Boyle said.
Andry pumped in another header to extend the Greenies’ lead a minute later, finishing the scoring on the night.
Despite the loss, Boyle wanted to get something positive out of the experience, hoping to use it for next season.
“I think nerves got the better of us a little bit,” Boyle said. “That first goal was crucial. It gives us an indication of where we have to go for next season in that regard.”