LAFAYETTE — After six Lafayette High seniors shared their memories on Monday night, Acadiana’s Sarah Matte took home her own memorable moment.
Matte’s header off Kennedi Smith’s free kick found the back of the net with 11 minutes remaining in the second half to help send the Rams to a 2-1 victory over their Division I, District 2 rivals in a girls soccer match at Lafayette High.
“This is pretty exciting, and none of it would have happened without Kennedi’s amazing pass,” Matte said. “This is a top moment for me.”
The Lions had their own energy boost about five minutes earlier when Arieal Alexander sent a curving, low liner that resulted in a game-tying goal that momentarily evened the score at 1-1.
“Arieal is fantastic,” Acadiana coach John Carriere said of that score by the Rams’ opponent. “You can’t lose her for one second. We had her well marked, and she still scored.”
That Alexander score capped a furious rally that saw the Lions erase a 1-0 halftime deficit by going on the attack early and often in the second half. Alexander’s first shot of the half went wide before the Lions kept up the pressure by securing consecutive corner kicks in the opening six minutes of the second half. None of those initial efforts resulted in a score, but the tone was set for a tight second half.
“We had the wind in the first half and the ball hung up for us,” Carriere said. “We had to defend more than I wanted to. We knew we would have to take the brunt of their attack in the second half.”
The Rams were able to withstand that pressure thanks in part to a first half goal that came courtesy of Rammie Noel, who was able to guide the ball past LHS goalkeeper Katie Cook nearly 10 minutes into the opening half.
“We moved the ball and kept it out of the middle,” Carriere said. “We wanted to get those one-on-one opportunities and there was too much clutter and interference (defensively) in the middle.”
Cook kept the Rams off the scoreboard for the next 59 minutes of game time by making a few diving stops on shots by both Noel and Emma Young. The score stayed even until Matte’s match clincher.
“It was pretty tough (in the second half) having quick players running at you and anticipating well,” Matte said.
Acadiana improved to 17-7 and 4-1 in district with the win.