There is sure to be stiff competition for St. Scholastica and Fontainebleau when the girls soccer playoffs begin.
But really, there is no finer practice for the postseason than a late season match in Division I, District 6.
That showed Tuesday when perennial powers Fontainebleau and St. Scholastica played to a 1-1 tie at the SSA Sports Complex north of Covington.
By virtue of the tie, SSA (15-1-3, 5-0-1) clinched the district championship. The Doves are the defending state champion and are in the mix for the top seed in the playoffs, which will be announced next week. Fontainebleau, a top-five ranked squad with its own title aspirations, is assured of no worse than second-place in District 6.
Tuesday’s match was scoreless until after halftime. After both squads missed a shot on goal in the opening seconds of the second half, sophomore striker Bailey Tadlock broke free in SSA’s box. She assisted Diana Goff who cranked a ball to the left post that was struck so solidly, it ricocheted back onto the field of play. That was after the ball crossed the goal line, however, and gave Fontainebleau a 1-0 lead.
Not to be outdone, the Doves unleashed Maggie Otillio who fired a shot toward goal in the 51st minute. What looked to be a clean score, however, was stopped by Bulldogs goalkeeper Bailey Scott. St. Scholastica scored in the 75th minute when Gabbi Anderson looped a ball into the top right corner to even the score at 1-1.
“Every game in this district is hard,” Tadlock said. “Diana did a great job of putting the shot in when we needed it. There are no easy wins against (St. Scholastica.)”
Fontainebleau coach Carly Hotard agreed.
“I think four of the top eight teams in the state are in this district, so that tells you that every match, you have to be at your best,” she said. “We were able to keep the tempo up today and get the tie. This will help prepare us for the playoffs.”
SSA coach Mike Ortner said his team was hoping for an undefeated run in district but will take Tuesday’s lesson and utilize in the playoffs.
“We had a few balls hit off the crossbar, a couple off the posts,” he said. “But we have to do a better job of putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Fontainebleau (12-5-4, 4-1-1) looked strong in the opening minutes. Tadlock found a loose ball in the SSA box during the sixth minute, and slid a right-to-left shot toward an empty goal. The attempt went just wide of the far post, however.
The Doves answered with a shot of their own in the seventh minute, but Zoe Perrin’s header caromed off the crossbar.
The teams exchanged a minimal number of shots the rest of the first half, but neither could get a ball to land.
The most exciting exchange came in the 37th minute when SSA fired two shots on goal from close range, but failed to score. In the 39th minute, Otillio wheeled in the left side of the Fontainebleau box and rifled a ball toward the far post. That ball, too, was off mark.
SSA outshot Fontainebleau 7-5 in the scoreless first half.
ST. PAUL’S 7, FONTAINEBLEAU 0: The Wolves, the top-ranked team in the state, opened a 5-0 halftime lead and cruised to a win Tuesday night against the Bulldogs at Hunter Stadium in Covington.
Davis Neitzschman scored three goals and Eric Guin had two goals. Michael Longo and Bryon Morgan each added one goal.
“Those were some of the best goals we’ve had this season,” St. Paul’s coach Sean Moser said. “There were some fine shots tonight.”
St. Paul’s (25-0-3) closes its Division I, District 6 schedule at Slidell on Friday.