Three consecutive state championships. Only one goal allowed in its past 15 playoff games. A 93-percent winning percentage during the past three years.
The list of accolades goes on for the St. Paul’s boys soccer team, and it got longer Tuesday morning during a special assembly at the school.
The Wolves were honored during the 11th annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard. St. Paul’s was one of five boys soccer teams out of more than 10,000 across the U.S. to be part of the MaxPreps tour this spring.
St. Paul’s (27-1-3) finished the season ranked No. 1 in the country by MaxPreps, a website that tracks prep athletics across the nation.
The team was presented with a national championship trophy during the assembly in front of the student body, faculty and parents. It was the second consecutive year the Wolves finished the season ranked first nationally by MaxPreps, but the first time the Tour of Champions came to town.
The presentation capped an run by the Wolves, particularly their seniors, who reached the LHSAA Division I state championship game in all four years of high school. The team won this season’s title with a 3-0 victory over Acadiana on Feb. 27 in New Orleans.
“This was very exciting,” said Michael Boudreaux, who led St. Paul’s with 16 assists and was named the team’s Player of the Year. “For MaxPreps to come to Covington, and to our school, and to be nationally recognized, is pretty amazing. After all the work we’ve put in, this is the best ending we could ask for.”
The successes came early and often for St. Paul’s. They played in the Monteverde Academy Soccer Tournament in south Florida in January, and lost their only game of the season against the hosts in the championship game. The Wolves returned to Louisiana and made quick work of their Division I, District 4 opponents, going 7-0 and allowing only one goal in league play.
St. Paul’s totaled 24 shutouts in 31 games and outscored opponents 101-12. Only five of those goals allowed came against in-state teams. Six Wolves registered double digits in goals scored, and 17 of 21 field players scored at least once.
“We kept getting better,” said Division I state offensive MVP Colin Ross. “Our team chemistry is something that most teams don’t have, and that was an important factor in our success.”
Austin Wiles, the Division I state defensive MVP, said the MaxPreps event was “very special.”
“It’s something I will remember for the rest of my life, no doubt,” he said.
And though he’ll be playing college soccer at Christian Brothers University in Memphis (as will Boudreaux), Wiles said it’s difficult to leave St. Paul’s. Wiles, Boudreaux and Ross are seniors, as are Jonathan King (Spring Hill University,) Austin Groeneveld, Nick Isolani (Rhodes College,) Nash Odenwald, and Jordan Dominguez.
“It’s really hard, especially going into state, knowing it would be my last game here,” Wiles said. “But I’m glad we went out with a win.”
St. Paul’s coach Sean Moser said the 2015-16 team was one of the “most creative”groups he’s had in his coaching career, which includes eight Louisiana state titles (four at St. Paul’s.)
“When we started the season, we didn’t give up a goal for eight games,” Moser said. “That became the talking point, ‘Can we continue this?’ The team rose to the challenge early, and then we tweaked some stuff as we went along. … They did what they set out to do.”