Fast-starting Newman advances to boys soccer final with 3-1 win over Episcopal of Acadiana _lowres

Photo by JOSEPH HALM Newman’s Sam Moses shields an Episcopal of Acadiana player from the ball during a Division IV semifinals match Saturdya at Lupin Field.

Newman junior soccer player Sophie Andry is hoping the word circulating around the school this week is true.

Rumor has it that teachers won’t be allowed to give out any homework assignments Wednesday night.

If so, assignments will likely have to be done in the friendly confines of Tad Gormley Stadium, where most of the Newman student body will likely be Wednesday.

That’s where Newman will try to pull off the rare soccer double and win both girls and boys state championships in the same school year.

It’ll be Newman vs. the north shore in the Division IV championship matches on Day 1 of four straight days of LHSAA soccer.

The Newman girls, a No. 5 seed, will play No. 3 Hannan at 5 p.m., and the No. 2 Newman boys follow against No. 5 Northlake Christian at 7:30 p.m.

“It would be pretty big for the school and for both teams,” said sophomore Sam Moses, who has 21 goals this season for the boys team. “It would be pretty special because it’s pretty rare.”

Indeed it is rare.

Well, except for the Greenies, who have a knack for pulling off the double.

It’s only happened six times in LHSAA history. Newman has done it three of those times, pulling off the feat in 1999, 2001 and 2005. Slidell was the first school to do it back in 1992. Ben Franklin also did it in 2004 and again in 2014.

Now Newman gets its shot to do it for a fourth time.

“I’d say it’s my dream,” Andry said. “I have been thinking about it nonstop.”

Andry and her teammates are motivated by a loss in the title match two seasons ago.

“Going as a freshman and losing was really hard, so we know it’s like,” Andry said. “A lot of us were on that team, so we really want to win.”

Newman’s girls and boys teams have won seven state titles apiece.

The girls team making it to the final may not be as much as a surprise.

Lynsey Winkler, in her second season coaching the girls, liked her team’s chances of getting to the final, especially with the returning experience from that 2014 runner-up squad.

“We have six or seven girls from two years ago, so I knew we had a chance,” Winkler said. “We have played well and started peaking at the right time.”

The boys team’s success wasn’t as certain.

Matt Jacques lost 12 seniors off last year’s team. This team has just one senior starter in goalkeeper Connor Nelson.

“To be honest, I really didn’t know how this team was going to perform,” Jacques said. “I think I started to see it midway through the season. We played Country Day. We didn’t really have a great game. But it was how we responded and turned things around after that game.”

Jacques is going for his third state title after leading Newman to back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. He’s also been on the other end, losing in 2008 and 2013.

Winning another one Wednesday (especially if the girls win earlier in the day) would be even more special.

“There’s definitely a lot of buzz going around, and the school is excited for both teams,” Jacques said.

Newman is part of what could be a stellar four days for teams from the greater New Orleans area. In addition to Wednesday’s two all-New Orleans area finals, there are six more area teams (Sacred Heart, Lakeshore, Ben Franklin, Holy Cross, Mount Carmel, and St. Paul’s) vying for championships.

New Orleans could crown itself the state’s soccer capital this weekend.

And the headquarters could very well be Uptown at 1903 Jefferson Avenue if Newman can pull off the double.