St. Paul’s soccer team is seeded first in Division I boys soccer playoffs and ranked No. 1 in at least two national polls.
On Saturday, they showed why.
The unbeaten opening defense of their Division I state championship with an easy 5-0 win over No. 32 Alexandria at Hunter Stadium.
The Wolves (26-0-3) will play No. 17 Baton Rouge High, a 3-2 winner over No. 16 St. Amant, in the second round.
Senior Davis Netizschman got St. Paul’s on the board in the fourth minute with a shot that found the back of the goal past ASH goaltender Zach Price.
Netizschman’s senior teammate, Brett Feringa, pushed the Wolves lead to 2-0 when he knocked in a header from Netizschman in the 21st minute.
Limiting the Alexandria offensive to only two shots on goal in the first half, the relentless Wolves’ offensive pressure resulted in 19 shots on goal in the first half and 33 for the game.
The lead grew to 3-0 early in the second half on a penalty kick goal by Barrick Roberts that was result of a yellow card charged to Alexandria in the goal box in the 47th minute.
“The goal by Davis really got us going,” Roberts said of the game’s first score. “We had missed a couple of early opportunities and didn’t get off to the type of start we wanted to offensively. But after Davis’ goal, we started attacking a whole lot better and more efficiently.
“Saying that, it was still a good start and it is always good to get that first playoff game victory out of the way.”
Roberts would make it 4-0 four minutes later with another goal, this time in the left corner of the net in 51st minute.
“Great start to the playoffs for me scoring two goals and more importantly our team in general because this is step one to our ultimate goal, which is defending our state championship,” Roberts said. “Hopefully we can keep coming and coming.”
Michael Boudreaux’s goal in the 64th minute finished out the scoring as the Wolves came away with the shutout victory.
Heavily favored to play for yet another state championship later this month at Tad Gormley Stadium, the Wolves are in pursuit of their third state championship in the past five seasons.
“I’m not going to lie,” Roberts said. “Being unbeaten and one of the top-ranked teams in the country, you look forward to the playoff games down the road like in the semifinals and the state championship itself. But the coaching staff has continually preached to us to stay focused because that upset could come at any time and you have to bring your best every game.
“That is what we will be striving to do throughout the rest of the postseason.”