Catholic High dominated St. Amant in their Division I boys soccer regional playoff matchup at Burbank Soccer Complex Wednesday night, advancing to the state quarterfinals with a comfortable 3-1 win.
Chris Bordelon, Trey Poché and Ryan Keaton scored for the sixth-seeded Bears, who took the lead midway through the first half and never looked back.
“I thought during the first half, we were really sharp,” said CHS coach Bo Cassidy. “We talked a lot about how to exploit their defense, and we did a good job of being patient. Switching the point of attack was one of the things we did a good job of. Most of our chances came off the switch.”
Moving from their narrow home field to the more expansive pitch at Burbank cost the No. 11-seed Gators, who were unable to overcome their slow start in the face of Catholic’s unrelenting pressure.
“I thought we played hard the entire game,” said SAHS coach Adrian Garcia.
“We didn’t play smart in the beginning. Once we realized how to play, we’d dug ourselves into a hole that we couldn’t get out of. It’s a big field for us compared to what we’re used to at home. It took us a while to get adjusted to their game plan, and once we did, it was 2-0.”
The Bears dominated the early stages, and Bordelon rewarded the team for its sustained pressure when he broke the deadlock in the 24th minute.
St. Amant failed to clear the ball as it pinballed around in the penalty area, and when it fell at Bordelon’s feet, he knocked it past goalkeeper Devin Leblanc into the top right corner of the net.
Christian Delcid almost tied the match on the restart, but his well-struck attempt from more than 30 yards out arced narrowly over the crossbar.
In the 27th minute the Bears stretched their lead to 2-0, when Leblanc misplayed a long ball into the box and Poché was on hand to tap it home.
After Catholic had a goal disallowed for offside, St. Amant had the first quality legal attempt of the second half, but Bears goalkeeper Lee Leblanc saved Kevin Cundiff’s long-range effort.
Bordelon set up Catholic’s third goal in the 55th minute, firing a shot on a breakaway that St. Amant’s Leblanc struggled to handle. The ball spilled into the path of Keaton, who fired it past a diving Leblanc.
Catholic threatened several more times in the final 20 minutes as St. Amant pushed forward, and Joshua Campbell was unlucky to not make it 4-0 when his stellar solo run ended with the ball rolling into touch.
The Gators finally got on the board in the 72nd minute when Colby Guitrau picked up a through ball in the penalty area and beat Catholic’s Leblanc with his shot.