ZACHARY — Catholic High School’s soccer team took a while to get its game together but finished strong with two goals in the final 20 minutes to slip past Zachary 2-1 in a District 3-I match Friday.
The win was the fifth straight for the Bears, who remained undefeated in district play at 3-0. Zachary’s three-game win streak ended as it fell to 3-1 in district.
Zachary took an early lead when Evan Delhom boomed a 55-yard free kick from near the right sideline that bounced over Catholic goalkeeper Patrick Riley. The home team held that advantage going into halftime.
The first half could best be described as loose, with no genuine organized attacks and lots of balls in the air as both defenses used the long ball as their weapon.
Catholic coach Josh McReynolds credited Zachary with controlling the first half.
“Zachary came out and wanted it more,” McReynolds said. “They had more intensity running the field, and they were first to every ball. I told the guys it wasn’t going to a tactical thing, that it would just come down to who wanted it more. I was proud of the way they responded.”
The Bears (11-6-1) had the first scoring chance in the sixth minute with back-to-back corner kicks by Bobby Lee. The first one ended in a header that goalkeeper Samuel McCauley punched over the goal, and the second produced a loose ball in front of the goal that Catholic couldn’t convert before the Broncos were able to clear.
Zachary (10-6-2) barely missed another opportunity in the 27th minute when Riley came out of goal to chase a ball toward the left sideline and Connor Gibbons had a clear look from 50 yards out.
Riley and another Catholic defender barely beat the ball back to the far post for the save. The attempt was close enough that Zachary coach Kyle Callihan thought it might have crossed the line, but the referee ruled otherwise.
“If we had goal-line technology, I think that might have made it a 2-0 game,” he said. “I thought it went in, their coach thought it didn’t, but, hey, it’s all good.”
It was all good for Matthew Morales and Catholic in the 60th minute. McCauley had turned away two Catholic attacks with a nice clear in the 52nd minute and another in the 54th when Dylan Thompson dropped a free kick into the pack in front of the goal. Morales slipped in behind McCauley and tapped in a well-placed pass from Cole Cazenave to tie the game at 1-1.
The Bears’ Nicholas Davies converted a rebound to score the winning goal in the 77th minute on a well-organized set piece off a throw-in.
“In the second half we settled down a little bit, found our rhythm, and had a little more composure on the ball,” McReynolds said. “We took the ball in, then went back in, put the ball across the middle and finished it off.”
Zachary’s best scoring chance came in the 46th minute, but Riley made a good save on the shot attempt and the shot off the rebound sailed over the net.
“They’re a good top-10 team and we’re trying to be a top-15 team,” Callihan said. “In this district, every week, and every game is hard.
“It seems like every game falls on one point, and sometimes the ball bounces where the other team needs it and you don’t need it.”