The majority of Acadiana’s top boys soccer teams will be spending Mardi Gras week just practicing.
The LHSAA released the boys soccer playoff pairings for Divisions I through IV on Wednesday and 17 area teams earned berths, with nine of those receiving first-round byes.
Acadiana (20-2-5) was one of those nine as the Wreckin’ Rams earned the No. 3 seed in the Division I bracket. Acadiana will play the winner of the Brother Martin-East Ascension game in the second round.
“I can’t say that I am a fan of it, but I haven’t ever had to deal with it before,” Acadiana coach Jan Richard said of the bye. “Even with the bye, our mentality is still pretty much one game at a time.”
Richard, who had to replace six starters from last year’s team including his entire back line, has his squad peaking at the right time. Acadiana hasn’t dropped a game since Dec. 12.
“The boys understand what is at stake,” Richard said. “Brother Martin is one of the better programs in the state, and East Ascension has come a long way. We are not going to take anything for granted.”
While that may come off as coach speak, it rings a little more true for Richard and his Rams. Acadiana lost a heartbreaker at home in the state semifinals last season, when the team blew a three-goal lead in a 4-3 loss to Jesuit.
“I think if we played Jesuit nine more times we would have beat them,” Richard said. “The big thing coming into this year was that tough loss. I felt like I let the boys down. We talked before the season about that loss and how as a team we are going to learn from it.”
Lafayette (9-6-4) earned the No. 9 seed in that same bracket and will host No. 24 Baton Rouge High in the opening round. If the Mighty Lions win, they would face another District 2 member in New Iberia (14-3-0) in the second round.
In Division II, St. Thomas More (15-6-6) earned the top seed and will face the winner of Terrebonne-Westgate (13-7-0). Meanwhile, Beau Chene (12-9-5) earned a bye by grabbing the No. 5 seed and will face the winner of Ruston-Central in the next round.
Carencro (2-12-2) received the No. 23 seed and will play at No. 10 Woodlawn-Baton Rouge in the first round.
In Division III, Teurlings Catholic (10-11-2) earned a bye with the No. 7 seed and gets the winner of Lutcher-Pearl River. North Vermilion (12-3-6) also received a bye in Division III by earning the No. 8 seed and will face the winner of the Episcopal-Grant game.
Also in Division III, Abbeville (11-5-1) was awarded the No. 16 seed and will host No. 17 DeRidder in the first round, while No. 11 St. Martinville (12-7-3) will host No. 22 Opelousas (3-18-0) in the only first-round matchup between two area teams.
In Division IV, Catholic High of New Iberia (18-2-1) earned the top seed and will face the winner of the Pope John Paul II-St. Charles Catholic game.
Lafayette Christian Academy (12-4-2) also earned a bye by getting the No. 8 seed. LCA could set up an All-Acadiana quarterfinal if they can defeat the winner of St. Frederick-Calvary Baptist Academy in the next round.
Episcopal of Acadiana (15-5-1) took the No. 3 seed and will face the winner of Riverside Academy-Runnels, while Westminster Christian Academy (10-7-5) earned the No. 7 seed and will play the winner of the Evangel Christian-St. Martin’s game.
Opelousas Catholic (3-12-2), meanwhile, received the No. 18 seed and will play No. 15 Metairie Park Country Day in the opening round.