After a four-hour drive from Lake Charles, the Sam Houston girls soccer team ran into a buzzsaw at Lakeshore on Wednesday afternoon.
The fourth-seeded Titans made quick work of the 13th-seeded Broncos in a Division II regional playoff game in Mandeville.
The final score was 5-0, and Lakeshore’s dominated from the outset. The Titans scored four goals in the first half, outshot the Broncos 14-0 overall.
Next up for Lakeshore (13-6-6) is a quarterfinal match against the winner of the Alexandria-Ruston playoff. If No. 5 seed Alexandria wins its own regional playoff, Lakeshore will host the quarterfinal. If Ruston wins, the Titans will hit the road for a long road trip.
“I don’t know anything about either (of those teams),” Lakeshore coach Wes Leake said. “They’re sort of like Sam Houston. They’re so far away, you don’t see them in any tournaments, and other coaches around here haven’t seen them either. You just have to come prepared and ready.”
Lakeshore certainly was ready for Sam Houston.
After failing to convert a couple of corner kicks in the opening minutes, Lakeshore got on the board in the 13th minute. A corner kick from freshman Jordan Carter looped into the Sam Houston box and landed at Presley Molitor’s feet. Molitor, another freshman, bumped the ball into the right side of the goal for a 1-0 lead.
The Titans tallied again in the 21st minute when freshman Mary Catherine Nicholson sent a ball to the center of the box. Sophomore Jamie Raines collected the ball and knocked it into the back of the net.
A moment later, Lakeshore made the score 3-0 on an own goal that ricocheted off the Sam Houston goalkeeper and redirected it into the bottom right corner of the Broncos’ net. In the 32nd minute, Raines assisted Meghan Paulson for a score and a 4-0 lead.
The Titans outshot Sam Houston 11-0 in the first half.
Lakeshore began the second half much like it ended the first — with offensive pressure. Emma Claire Furman outran Sam Houston defenders up the right sideline in the 44th minute and sent a ball to Molitor in the box. Her shot past a drawn-out goalkeeper made the score 5-0.
At that point, Leake substituted liberally and no team scored again, although the remainder of the game largely was played tight against the Sam Houston box.
Raines said it was important to start quickly against Sam Houston (6-9-2.) In the middle of the Mardi Gras holiday break, she said Lakeshore had no problem maintaining focus.
“We had to do a lot of training to get here,” she said. “It’s not hard to stay focused. We worked on (a lot of corner kicks) before the game to make sure we got it.”
Molitor has scored twice in multiple games this year. She said the first half against the Broncos was key.
“We just had to come out and give it our all,” she said. “That’s what everyone did.”