Before fans were fully settled in their seats, a goal was scored in Friday’s girls soccer match between Fontainebleau and Mandeville.
And when the game was complete, that same goal was the only thing standing between the teams.
Mandeville won the Division I, District 4 game at Fontainebleau on Friday. The goal, scored by Mackenzie Manuel in the third minute, was the only one in a matchup of two of the state’s best teams.
Before either team could ease into the game, Manuel slipped through the middle of the Fontainebleau box and slid a shot to the left corner. The score was her 23rd goal of the season, and it gave Mandeville (17-3-2, 1-0) an early advantage.
“We knew it would be good to get a goal before theirs,” Manuel said. “It sets a mentality, and it gets in people’s heads, knowing that we’re able to play above them. It gets our confidence up.”
Friday’s game was the second between the north shore rivals this season. Fontainebleau beat Mandeville, 3-1, in the final of the Hahnville Tournament.
Coming into the game, the Skippers were ranked sixth in Louisiana, according to Maxpreps.com. Fontainebleau was third on the same list coming into Friday’s match.
The difference this time was confidence, Mandeville coach Sean Esker said.
“We were able to play with a lead and were able to make some key stops in the first half,” Esker said. “I think we were able to hold up to the pressure. I really think you could sense that at halftime. It was different from last time we played them; when we had to get one goal just to get back tied. The early goal for our side changed things.”
The rivals struggled for offensive control in the first half, with both sides having only a couple looks on goal. Fontainebleau’s best chance came only seconds before halftime when Whitney Duncan was alone in the Mandeville box but her attempt was blocked by MHS goalkeeper Jordyn Pellegrin.
After halftime, Fontainebleau (13-2-2, 0-1) looked to tie the game when Bailey Tadlock broke down the field for a shot at the goal. As the ball rolled toward an open net, Jena Burkart cleared the shot for Mandeville, though, and the score remained 1-0 in the Skippers’ favor.
“That was a very big play,” Esker said. “We knew that this game wouldn’t be over with until the last whistle was blown.”