LAFAYETTE — A.K. Aluise wasn’t satisfied with her first two state championships.
Sure, they were nice. But the senior wanted to leave Newman with a full-fledged dynasty. She wanted a title she could call her own.
Friday was everything she could have asked for and more.
No. 4 Newman defeated No. 3 Episcopal of Acadiana 2-0 in the Sugar Bowl LHSAA Division IV girls soccer championship in Lafayette, completing the back-to-back-to-back reign of dominance for the Greenies and ending Aluise’s high school career on the high note she always dreamed of having.
“It feels incredible. Words can’t describe it,” Aluise said. “I’ve said it before, but I’m so incredibly proud of my team. We’ve worked so hard, we’ve had a lot of bumps in the road with new coaches and a really young team this year. We had a lot we had to overcome to get to this point, and it feels incredible.”
Aluise was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player after scoring a goal that all but clinched the Newman three-peat in the 71st minute. She dashed the hopes of a late rally when she buried a point-blank rebound off a corner kick the Falcons couldn’t clear out of the box.
Aluise said she was surprised at the opportunity that fell into her lap but glad she put the shot into the back of the net.
Newman had to work a little harder for its first goal, which eventually proved to be the game winner.
Newman sophomores Charlotte Williams and Gabrielle Reginelli orchestrated a textbook give-and-go play around the final ESA defender in the 26th minute to give the Greenies its original lead. Williams was credited with the goal.
Friday marked the 10th state championship overall for Newman, extending its hold as the winningest program in Louisiana girls soccer history.
“With Newman and our culture within the soccer program and the school in general, we really have our girls off building strong relationships, high expectations and just being good people in and out of the field,” Newman coach Heather Fitzgerald said.
Even though Newman walked away with a multigoal victory, it could have been worse given the amount of scoring opportunities the Greenies had in 80 minutes.
It took Newman’s Victoria Thomas all of 108 seconds to get the team’s first shot on goal with a clean breakaway that was blocked at the last moment by goalkeeper Ella Frantzen.
If it weren’t for Frantzen, Friday might have turned into a blowout for Newman with the junior recording 11 saves, just about all of them were strong, well-placed shots.
By the final whistle, Newman outshot the Falcons 23-2 on Friday, including 13-1 in shots on frame.
“I thought (Frantzen) was MVP of the game,” said ESA coach Stephen Devine. “She should’ve got MVP even though we lost. She was the best player on the field, in my opinion. But, it is what it is.”