The St. Joseph’s soccer team was looking for answers after a rough start to the season. The team was 2-5-2 and felt like the chemistry that brought them to the second semifinals appearance in school history the previous year was gone.
But the answer they were looking for came in the most unlikely of places: an email thread.
The Redstickersbegan to send emails to each other before games in an attempt to motivate the team and build chemistry among the players.
It worked, as St. Joseph’s finished the season winning 15 of its last 17 games to give them the Division I, District 5 title, launching them to a No. 5 seed in the playoff brackets released by the LHSAA on Tuesday.
The Redstickerswill host No. 28 Alexandria at 6 p.m. Friday at Burbank Soccer Complex.
“Some of the girls last year would send out emails before the games, and I really think that was what was missing,” St. Joseph’s coach Stephanie Broussard said.
“A lot of the upperclassmen just stepped in and said, ‘We need to find out what’s going on.’ ”
Broussard said her team is coming together at the right time after the rough start, but the key to another deep run in her second season at the helm of the Redstickerswill be to maintain the kind of camaraderie that got them through the beginning of the season.
“I think what our girls have at St. Joseph’s is the desire to play for each other,” Broussard said. “I think the most inspiring thing is how they start picking up and taking charge and helping each other out and building each other up.”
St. Joseph’s only loss in the backstretch of the season came at the hands of No. 1 seed Mount Carmel in a 1-0 road loss in the third to last game of the season.
Broussard said, despite the loss, the game was a major confidence boost to St. Joseph’s, showing it could keep up with the best in the state.
In a first-round game, Mount Carmel hosts West Jefferson which squeaked in as the last seed on an automatic qualifying bid, despite being No. 36 in the final power rankings.
Besides St. Joseph’s, several other Baton Rouge area schools qualified for the playoffs.
No. 30 St. Amant will have to travel to No. 3 Dominican, while No. 29 Zachary will face off against No. 4 Mandeville in the first round.
“It’s really a great thing to see that many Baton Rouge teams make the playoffs, especially from our district,” Broussard said. “That says something awesome about our district and how tough our district is.
“And for our girls to win district, that takes a lot since five teams from our district made the playoffs.”
University Lab will seeks its first state championship since 1998 as the No. 2 seed in Division III. The Cubs will host Grace Christian in the first round.
Co-Division II, District 5 champs No. 7 Lutcher and No. 8 St. Michael are once again separated by the narrowest of margins. The Bulldogs host No. 26 Beau Chene while the Warriors host No. 25 De La Salle.
The top seeds in Division II and Division III are Loyola Prep and Northlake Christian.