Lakeshore girls soccer team playing for school’s first state team title _lowres

Photo by JOSEPH HALM –Lakeshore's Meghan Paulson, right, and Ben Franklin's Kirsten Brown battle for possession during a Jan. 19 match at Ben Franklin.

Just reaching the state championship game made history for the Lakeshore girls soccer team.

To capture the school’s first team state title, however, they are going to have to make even more history.

In only its seventh year of existence, No. 4 Lakeshore will be competing for the Division II state championship at 5 p.m. Friday at Tad Gormley Stadium.

If they want to capture the Division II crown, the Titans (15-6-6) are going to have to dethrone three-time defending state champion Ben Franklin, which comes into the match 20-1-1 and seeded No. 2.

This is the third matchup between district rivals. Ben Franklin beat Lakeshore 4-1 on Jan. 19 at home and the two teams tied at 2 on Jan. 27 in Mandeville.

“It’s going to be a great week at Lakeshore High School,” first-year Principal Christian Monson said. “Having a squad play for a state championship regardless of the sport is great for school spirit. The girls soccer team will now go down in school history as the first team to do it. It was great to have a spirit bus that made the trip to Lafayette for the semifinals (against St. Thomas More), and we are expecting a big crowd to make the trip to New Orleans on Friday night.

“We are going to have a pep rally on Friday at school and in between classes we are going to be playing the fight song. It is going to be a memorable week and a great week to be a part of the Lakeshore High School Titan family.”

Lakeshore comes off a penalty-kick shootout win over top-seeded St. Thomas More in the semifinals, while Ben Franklin shut out Parkway 3-0.

“We couldn’t be more excited,” Titans coach Wes Leake said. “I knew coming into this season we had a chance to have a special season. You are talking about a program that made it to the state semifinals a season ago, so we have had success. But of course, a state championship is different.

“I want the girls to enjoy this entire week at school and embrace the experience. I know the school’s broadcasting team is going to be documenting the week and just getting everybody’s reaction. Hopefully having a big friendly crowd at Tad Gormley on Friday will help calm our nerves and help us be successful.

The Titans are led by senior Emma Claire Furman. Furman has a team-high 22 goals and nine assists. More importantly for Lakeshore, she was responsible for all three goals scored by the Titans against Ben Franklin this season.

Sophomore Jamie Raines and freshman Presley Molitor are the only other double-digits scorers on the year for Lakeshore, combining for 23 goals and nine assists.