The state’s top-ranked Division III boys’ soccer team played gamely, but in the end, it was Louisiana’s top Division I team that was victorious.
St. Paul’s, the top team in Louisiana and in the southeastern U.S., according to at least one poll, defeated Northlake Christian 1-0 in a non-district match Monday night at the Wolves’ Hunter Stadium in Covington.
After missing its first 11 shots, St. Paul’s finally cracked the scoreboard in the 59th minute. Senior Brett Feringa busted into the Northlake Christian box and drilled a shot into the back of the Wolverines’ net to provide the only score of the match.
It was the first loss for Northlake (8-1-6.) St. Paul’s improved to 18-0-2.
Despite the win, St. Paul’s didn’t play its best match, said coach Sean Moser. He wasn’t happy with his team’s effort, saying no one player performed really well except goal keeper Colin Hanley. Hanley made two impressive saves in the final minutes to preserve the St. Paul’s win.
“Northlake is a good team — the top team in Division III, but like I told the guys after the match, we’ve played teams that were just as fast and just as good this year and were able to break those teams down and win 2-0, 3-0,” Moser said. “But in the first half, we were just discombobulated. We had no composure at all. I thought we were confident, we just didn’t play very well.”
Northlake coach Nick Chetta praised his team’s effort, but said in no way was the loss a consolation prize.
“We are not content at all with a 1-0 loss to St. Paul’s,” he said. “But I am very encouraged by our play. I gave the team two weeks off, and our only practice over the (holiday) break was yesterday.”
The north shore rivals jockeyed for offensive dominance to open the match, with neither team being able to squeeze off a shot on goal. That changed when in the 11th minute, St. Paul’s David Durand booted a shot from 15 yards out, but the ball went wide of the goal. Davis Neitzschman had another attempt in the 16th minute that was stopped by Northlake.
Northlake remained relatively quiet until the 22nd minute, when senior Mason Cook streaked down the right sideline and curled toward the St. Paul’s box. He fired a right-footed shot to the near post, but Hanley dove to his left for the save and kept the match scoreless.
St. Paul’s rattled off three shots between the 28th and 34th minute, but nothing fell. Northlake Christian’s Josh Landry had perhaps the Wolverines’ best look of the first half in the 38th minute, but his slow roller cruised just past the right post, which kept the game scoreless at halftime.
The Wolves came out firing in the second half, but their first six shots were either high or wide. St. Paul’s outshot Northlake 14-2 in the match, and it was Feringa’s shot that mattered most.
“It wasn’t the best shot, kind of low,” he said. “But I hit it well enough to get it in. Today was a rough game, though. We just had slow play.”