LAFAYETTE — Led by a three-goal performance by senior Kat Whitman, No. 1 seed St. Thomas More cruised into the Division II semifinals with an 8-0 win over Carencro. It was the second straight mercy-rule playoff contest for the Lady Cougars.
“We talked before the game about championship effort,” STM coach Daniel Underwood said. “We have been preparing to make a run like this since we lost to Ben Franklin last year.”
Added Whitman, “When you are the top seed you have to have confidence. If we are the No. 1 team, then we have to play the No. 1 team.”
Hailey Zaunbrecher started the scoring barrage scoring STM’s first goal before the two-minute mark. The Lady Cougars were aggressive offensively from start to finish as STM (21-6-2) quickly set up three more shots on goal in the next few minutes, but those kicks failed to find the back of the net.
Following a great defensive effort by senior Erin Guillory, who used her body to block a shot on goal by Carencro’s Ashley Colomb, STM began to pour it on. Whitman scored her first goal at the 20-minute mark and was followed, in what seemed like rapid succession, with goals by Emily LeJeune, Whitman again and then Mattie Marks.
At halftime, STM held a commanding 5-0 lead over Carencro (9-8-4).
After Zaunbrecher scored her second goal of the night, Whitman completed her hat trick.
“Kat is unselfish as they come,” Underwood said. “She could have had 50 goals by now if we didn’t need to move her to the middle early in the season. Ever since we moved her back to the outside, she has really blossomed.”
“As long as I can send the ball off my toe the right way, I think I can get the ball in there,” Whitman said.
The game was called with roughly 10 minutes remaining when Maddie Moreau passed the ball perfectly to Peyton St. Pierre who powered the ball past Carencro’s goal keeper.
“Hands down they were better than us tonight,” Carencro coach Michael Woodall said.
STM will host Lakeshore, a 3-0 winner over Alexandria, on Friday.
With a pair of dominating playoff wins already behind them, how with the Lady Cougars prepare for the semifinals? The same way they always have with focus and preparation but a loud home crowd wouldn’t hurt.
“When you get to the final four like this, all the teams are championship-caliber,” Underwood said. “We knew heading into the playoffs that home field was going to be advantage. That’s why we will need all that fan support come Friday.”