Baton Rouge High threw a scare into top-seeded St. Paul’s of Covington, but the Wolves settled down in the second half.
After a scoreless first half, St. Paul’s dominated the action to put away No. 17 Baton Rouge High 3-0 in Division I regional play Wednesday evening at Bulldogs Stadium.
Michael Boudreaux, Barrick Roberts and Eric Guin each scored second-half goals for defending Division I champion St. Paul’s (27-0-3). Baton Rouge (11-6-8) became St. Paul’s eighth consecutive shutout victim.
St. Paul’s, which defeated Baton Rouge 8-0 and 7-1 during the regular season, had a harder time putting away the Bulldogs this time. Baton Rouge nearly scored the game’s first goal in the 43rd minute.
Baton Rouge’s Grant Odenwald broke free from a defender, and had a breakaway run at the St. Paul’s goalkeeper. As the goalkeeper came out to meet the play and the defender trailed, all three players wound up in a heap in front of the goal while the ball rolled wide right.
St. Paul’s coach Sean Moser said beating Baton Rouge handily, twice in the regular season contributed to his team’s frustrations.
“It was tougher (a third time) in the sense that, at the 20-minute mark when we hadn’t gotten our first goal, we started getting frustrated a little bit,” Moser said. “Their keeper kept them in it. The posts kept them in it. I think we hit the posts six times.
“We started playing the ball long thinking we should be on top.”
The pressure finally started to ease off in the 52nd minute after the first goal. Boudreaux took possession near the top of the penalty box, eluded a defender and put a left-footed kick into the left side of the net.
In the 66th minute, Baton Rouge was called for a hard foul in the penalty box. Roberts then placed a penalty kick into the left side of the net for a 2-0 St. Paul’s lead.
The final goal came in extra time after Byron Morgan took a free kick from 40 yards out.
Guin set up in front of the goal, and directed the ball into the net with a reverse header.
For the game, St. Paul’s outshot Baton Rouge 18-3. Bulldogs goalkeeper Clay Milneck had seven saves.
“We had played them twice. This game we had to move some things around defensively, and try and get them on the counterattack,” Baton Rouge coach Richard Harsch said.
“We created a couple of decent opportunities, but they’re a good team. Eventually they found the back of the net.”
The teams played to a scoreless tie in the first half, but it was controlled by St. Paul’s, which got off nine shots against only one for Baton Rouge.
After a corner kick in the 14th minute, St. Paul’s had multiple chances to take the lead, but came up empty. Colin Ross, Matthew Dysart and Austin Wiles each got off shots, but goalkeeper Clay Milneck and the Baton Rouge defense held their ground.
In the 18th minute, St. Paul’s Barrick Roberts had a clear look from the right side, but his kick hit the right post. The ball caromed hard left, and out of bounds off the post.
Baton Rouge’s Thomas Campbell received a yellow card for a hard tackle in the 26th minute. Milneck deflected the ensuing free kick over the goal to keep the game scoreless.
In the 36th minute, there was a scuffle in front of the Baton Rouge goal as St. Paul’s sent a pass deep into the penalty box. Again, the Baton Rouge defense rose to the occasion, and cleared the ball away.