Corner kicks have been unfriendly to St. Joseph’s Academy all season long, but the Redstickers changed that in a big way Tuesday evening at the Burbank Soccer Complex.
Battling Baton Rouge High in a scoreless tie, the Redstickers got the goal they needed as senior forward Laura Marcantel converted a corner kick in extra time, lifting St. Joseph’s to a 1-0 win.
Following the score, Baton Rouge High had less than a minute to tie, but was unable to get off a shot on goal.
“We’ve struggled defending corner kicks all year. We’ve barely even scored on any,” St. Joseph’s coach Brett Malone said.
“They’re our nemesis, really, but we pushed everybody up in the box except the goalkeeper, and just put it in there. Three different girls touched (the ball) before it went in.”
St. Joseph’s improved to 15-8-3 and 8-3 in Division I, District 5 with one game left to play.
Baton Rouge High (20-3-3) fell to 8-2 in league play after dropping its second consecutive district game. The Bulldogs are tied with Dutchtown, which has a 7-2 district mark.
“It was just a mistake right at the end of the game, and it cost us,” Baton Rouge coach Sheila Achee said.
“I thought we controlled the second half of the game, and produced some decent chances.
“We had an iffy opportunity that got called back; we thought it should have been a goal, but it was a great ball game.”
The opportunity Achee spoke of came in the 74th minute when Natalie Presedo took possession of the ball near the end line left of the St. Joseph’s goal.
Presedo split two defenders and deposited a kick into the right corner of the goal, but the ball was ruled to have been out of bounds past the end line before the play occurred.
Moments later, St. Joseph’s generated a right side corner kick as time wound down.
Rachel Fenner lofted the kick to the front of the goal where Marcantel finally gained control, putting a low kick into the right side of the net.
“I knew it was our last chance,” Marcantel said. “Rachel hit it in, and I got a tap from one of our other forwards. I just slid it right past the goalie. It was really a great ending.”
Baton Rouge High, which had 11 shots on goal to six for St. Joseph’s, got two saves from goalkeeper Rachel Bourgeois. St. Joseph’s Emily Cronin finished with three saves.
“The second half was tougher, because it was more intense,” Cronin said. “We didn’t know whether we were going to overtime or to penalty kicks.”
St. Joseph’s best first-half scoring chance came in the 24th minute, following a throw-in from the right corner. Brady Moran and Kennedy Achord both had shots inside the penalty box blocked by the Baton Rouge High defense.
In the 27th minute, Baton Rouge High’s Madeline Bourgeois worked her way past two defenders, and into the left side of the penalty box. Her left-footed kick sailed high and over the goal.
“I thought we did a good job tonight,” Malone said. “(Baton Rouge) has a very, very good team. They have players all over the field that are just as good as our girls. They’re a force to be reckoned with, but tonight we did our job.”