Upset with its playoff seed, No. 17 Country Day unloaded its frustrations on top-seeded Northlake Christian on Tuesday afternoon.
And Country Day emerged victorious, stunning the Wolverines 1-0 in the LHSAA Division III girls soccer regional playoff game.
The Cajuns advance to the quarterfinals against the Pope John Paul II-Opelousas Catholic winner.
“This performance is based on what we did through the season. We had the toughest schedule and that was by design. I wanted to test the girls,” Cajuns coach Glenn Benjamin said.
“No one’s been talking about us all season because we’ve been losing some matches. Our record shows that, but they’ve focused on the wrong thing. They should’ve been looking at who we’ve been playing and how we’ve performed.”
The Cajuns (7-11-4) won’t be overlooked anymore. MJ Williams ensured that.
In the 61st minute, the senior forward placed a shot in the far left post to lift Country Day to the next round.
“I felt it coming,” Williams said. “We had multiple chances throughout the match. Give credit to their goalie. She was awesome. Finally, we were able to put it away. It’s just great that we finished. We were really tough in the middle and held it together.”
The Cajuns’ midfield play sparked the effort. Whenever Northlake (16-4-5) attempted to push the ball forward, Country Day challenged the forwards and jarred balls loose.
“We stuck to our game plan. We knew they had a very fast player, and we put our efforts into shutting her down. We went after them,” Benjamin said.
“No. 11 (Bethany Acosta) and No. 10 (Lexie White) are very good players. If you shut them out, they have no outlet. And that’s what we focused on. We put two fast girls on them, shut them down and they weren’t able to connect the passes that they were accustomed to connecting on.”
It resulted in a clean sheet for Country Day and five total shots for the Wolverines, who tied Country Day in the regular season two weeks ago.
“We didn’t play very well (Tuesday),” Northlake Christian coach Nick Chetta said.
“It’s a shame because these girls have been tremendous all year long. We’re a young team. But I tried to tell them that in the playoffs, everyone is 0-0. Honestly, this game should have been a semifinals matchup, not a second-round game. But it wasn’t our day, and I’m OK with it because my girls gave it everything they had out there.”
Added Benjamin: “Early in the year, it’s not about wins, it’s about these girls learning and growing as the season progresses and peaking at the right time. I think we’re doing that now.”