At last. East Jefferson’s girls soccer team broke the curse Thursday night at Joseph Yenni Stadium.
Cushioned by a pair of goals from Julia Coello and Isabel Pollet, the No. 16-seeded Warriors blanked South Terrebonne 2-0, advancing to the second round of the Division II girls soccer playoffs for the first time.
“Heart,” Warriors coach Yazmin Sarasino said, tears streaming down her face.
“Heart. They know the game. I teach them the game. They watch film. They prepare. They work hard. They only had one day off during the holiday. It had nothing to do with skill, but everything to do with heart. It was a mental game, and we accomplished what we came here to accomplish after losing to them 5-0 the first time we played them. I’m just so happy and proud.”
Wednesday, the Warriors (8-11) will make their first regional appearance as travel to top-seeded Loyola Prep.
“We connected on our passes, we were first to the ball, played aggressive, took our chances when they presented themselves and finished,” Pollet said. “We knew what was at stake, and we wanted it. I think it showed.”
Dating to 2003, East Jefferson clinched five postseason berths — most recently last season against Pearl River, which resulted in a 11-1 rout. However, the Warriors couldn’t manage to overcome the bidistrict-round hump, losing by a combined score of 18-1.
Pollet nailed a free kick attempt from 21 yards out that curled into the far right post to accompany a Coello strike from inside the box to provide the Warriors with a two-goal advantage.
“I just knew I had to score,” Pollet said. “No excuses. I had to score for my team.”
Ahead 2-0, East Jefferson sat in a defensive shell. It stymied South Terrebonne (6-8-2), which struggled to create opportunities on goal.
“My go-to person is always Isabel,” Sarasino said.
“She showed up tonight, played a great defensive game and led our team to victory. All 11 of my girls played spectacular tonight, and the bench kept us motivated. We couldn’t have done it without every single girl on the team. I asked them not to be afraid, and they stepped up to the challenge and did it.”