The top-ranked boys soccer teams in Division I (St. Paul’s) and in Division IV (Newman) met Tuesday in a nondistrict match.
It was the Wolves, though, that were stronger.
St. Paul’s, the two-time defending state champion in Division I, scored two first-half goals to stake an early lead. The Wolves tacked on another score late in the match and defeated Newman 3-0 at Hunter Stadium in Covington.
It was the seventh shutout St. Paul’s (8-0) has posted in eight matches this season. The Wolves have only allowed one goal (on a penalty kick) to date, despite losing four of five back-line starters from last year’s team.
“We work hard on the defense,” center defender Michael Longo said. “We have some guys with experience back there. ... It’s working together to get things done. If you are alone back there, you don’t get anything done.”
Midfielder Michael Boudreaux, who scored a goal Tuesday, said his job is made easier because he can trust the St. Paul’s defense to stymie an opponent’s scorers.
“We have a lot of confidence in our defense,” Boudreaux said. “They can spread it out wide, they can knock it to the midfield. There are a bunch of options, and it’s definitely a stress-reliever knowing they are solid back there.”
The teams traded a pair a shots in the first five minutes, but none found their mark. St. Paul’s got on the scoreboard at the 10-minute mark when Boudreaux received a ball at the top of the Newman box and laced a shot to the top left corner.
A sizable part of the remainder of the first half was devoid of much offense, with the squads mostly jockeying for potential attacks near midfield. In the 20th minute, the Wolves’ Nick Isolani was able to drive the right side and knock a shot toward Newman’s goal. The attempt was stopped, however, by Greenies goalies Connor Nelson.
St. Paul’s went ahead 2-0 just before halftime when Mason Robicheaux chipped a ball into net from close range. The Wolves almost collected a third score seconds later, but a bevy of close-range shots were deflected in the crowded Newman box.
Justin Savoie bumped in a goal during the 72nd minute to push St. Paul’s advantage to 3-0.
“I’m pleased with tonight, and with the back line overall,” St. Paul’s coach Sean Moser said. “I think we’re ahead of where we thought we’d be at this point. ... We’re a work in progress, but we’re very pleased so far.”
Greenies coach Matt Jacques said Newman (3-2-2) was neutralized by St. Paul’s pressure on both offense and defense. The Wolves outshot Newman 11-3.
“Once they lose the ball, they do everything they can to get it back, and they get it back very quickly,” Jacques said. “They put a ton of pressure on you with the speed and talent they have. They make the game very difficult for you.”
St. Paul’s 3, Newman 0
Goals — ST. PAUL’S: Michael Boudreaux, Mason Robicheaux, Justin Savoie
Records — St. Paul’s, 8-0; Newman, 3-2-2.