On the eve of the release of the LHSAA girls state soccer playoff pairings, two of the top teams in the Division I bracket battled for a district championship.
In the end, two-time defending state champion St. Scholastica and Fontainebleau finished tied 0-0. With the tie, SSA captured the District 4, Division I crown with a 6-0-1 record. The Bulldogs and Mandeville both finished the season with 5-1-1 district records.
“We didn’t play an ideal match,” SSA coach Michael Ortner said. “But I thought we created some chances to score despite not necessarily connecting passes very well tonight.”
A scoreless first half still had its fair share of excitement. Fontainebleau junior Emily Eberts had a point-blank shot on goal in the 11th minute. Bailey Tadlock also had a clear shot on goal in the 35th minute, but the junior forward’s shot went just over the crossbar.
St. Scholastica’s best chance for a goal came in the 19th minute. After taking in a cross, senior captain Sam Vercher got past Bulldogs goalie Bailey Scott and had a clear shot on goal. However, a diving stop by defender Hailey Mundle kept the ball out of the net and kept the game scoreless.
“I’m happy with a tie,” Fontainebleau coach Carly Hotard said. “Of course I wanted to win, but when you can tie SSA it is a good thing. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. I kind of feel cheated all season because I know this team was capable of playing at the level that they did tonight.
“We had nothing to lose tonight, and I think the girls did a great job of just throwing it all out there. SSA showed up and challenged us. We played well.”
Zoe Perrin later had a free kick, but Scott was able to tip the ball over the top of the crossbar.
Jena Pecot had the first shot on goal for the Doves in the second half in the 54th minute, but Scott again kept Fontainebleau in the game with a diving save.
Gabbie Angelle had the best chance to score for SSA late in the game on a breakaway, but Scott deflected the shot wide in the 68th minute.
In the most recent unofficial LHSAA girls soccer power rankings, SSA is ranked fourth and Fontainebleau is ranked seventh. Both teams are expected to receive first-round byes as top-eight seeds when the brackets are announced Tuesday.
“We are a young team,” Ortner said. “But the one thing we try to stress each year is that every team and every year is different. What we accomplished last year isn’t going to make us any better this year. This program has a reputation, so they get everybody’s best shot. Big expectations come with that.”