LAFAYETTE — St. Thomas More girls soccer coach Daniel Underwood said he knows the Cougars have their semifinal plate full.
Their opponents — the Ben Franklin Falcons — have not lost a game in two years and haven’t won a playoff game this season by less than four goals. The Falcons also defeated STM in the Division II final last year to win the state championship.
“Ben Franklin is one of the best teams of all time,” Underwood said. “I feel like they will go down as one of the greatest girls’ high school soccer teams ever.
“They’re at over two years now without losing a game. Our plan is to try and stop that.”
Underwood said the key to stopping the Franklin offense will be slowing down forward Alex Thomas. Slowing down Thomas has proven difficult in the postseason to this point — she has a hat trick in every game so far.
“They are phenomenal with great offensive firepower,” Underwood said. “Alex Thomas committed to LSU. She was Gatorade Player of the Year as a sophomore. She can do some things on her own that a lot of boys can’t do. We just want to work hard from start to finish and do our best to slow her down.”
Offensively for the Cougars, Underwood said they’ll try to create chances up top for Kat Whitman. Whitman scored the game winner in STM’s 1-0 quarterfinal win over E.D. White.
Whitman said finishing their chances against Franklin is going to be crucial.
“We have created lots of chances up top. We’ve just had trouble finishing,” Whitman said. “We’ve grown so much as a team. We are focused on defense, pressure, covering. Hopefully we take care of that, and then the chances still come up top.”
Underwood has exhausted all options to beat Ben Franklin — even reaching out to crosstown rival Teurlings, which Ben Franklin defeated 5-1 in the quarterfinals.
Underwood said in order to win, they’ll have to be organized, something he has stressed all season.
“You have to be organized and composed in every game,” Underwood said, “but especially against a great team like that. You have to be able to play from start to finish.
“Teurlings faced them in the quarterfinals, and we are good friends with the coaches over there. We have the game film and we saw how they had success and what their failures were.
“At the end of the day, you are what you are at the end of the season. We are a blue-collar team and we are going to put our hard hats on a go to work.”