The St. Joseph’s soccer team’s offensive strategy against Mount Carmel on Monday night wasn’t working, and senior forward Kennedy Achord knew it.
The Cubs ran an effective defensive trap from the opening kick to consistently catch the Redstickers’ attack offsides. It worked to the tune of four offsides calls in the first 40 minutes and not one of St. Joseph’s three shots being serious threats.
So Achord decided to use the trap to her advantage.
“Each team has their own little strategy they like to pull,” Achord said. “Once we figured it out and processed it as a team at halftime, we just figured it out in the second half. “Once they all push up, you just have to find the hole and go at it.”
The new game plan worked to perfection in the 56th minute when Achord slipped past the Mt. Carmel back line on a well-timed through ball from Courtney LeJeune, giving the No. 3 Redstickers all they needed to pull off the 1-0 upset over No. 2 Mt. Carmel in what could potentially be a preview of a late-round matchup in next month’s playoffs.
It is the second time this season St. Joseph’s (13-4) beat a top three ranked opponent and is the first loss of the year for the Cubs (15-1-6).
“It almost ties up with that win against (St. Scholastica),” St. Joseph’s coach Stephanie Broussard said. “It’s a big success and a big point of excitement that we can take a win against a team like that.”
Broussard said she didn’t tell her team anything special during halftime other than to settle down and figure out their mistakes, but something must have clicked for the Redstickers.
After a slow first half for both teams — Mt. Carmel only had two shots, although one was from point-blank range that was sailed high — St. Joseph’s came out firing with 10, second-half shots, including four on frame.
Mt. Carmel coach Pavlos Petrou said the loss of center back Cecelia Kurtz early in the second half with concussion-like symptoms from a head-to-head collision with a St. Joseph’s player was deflating to the defense. Kurtz’s departure was only a few minutes before Achord’s goal.
But even more detrimental to Mt. Carmel’s momentum, Petrou said, was the missed opportunities on offense.
The Cubs had six tries at the goal in the second half, three of which were perfectly placed balls that required diving saves by St. Joseph’s goalkeeper Aleah Harris to maintain the shutout.
Harris finished with only four saves, but held strong control of the box and came up big when her team needed her to.
“This type of game, you have to put your chances away,” Petrou said. “We had two open goal chances at the beginning of the game and we didn’t put them away. I always believe that the ball will punish you if you can’t do that.”