The No. 12 seeded Lusher Lions advanced to the second round of the Division III boys soccer playoffs with a dominating 7-0 victory over No. 21 New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy on Friday at Brees Family Field.
“These kinds of games are tough,” Lusher coach Daniel Perez said. “You still have to stay disciplined enough to stick with the game plan. I’m happy with the result.”
Lusher (10-3-4) struck early. Matthew Lemaire headed in the first goal off a corner kick in the sixth minute. Christian Buezo tacked on another in the 16th minute by taking a stretch pass and sprinting past the NOMMA defenders to beat the keeper. Alex Todorovic scored the Lions’ third goal in the 36th minute off another corner kick.
Lusher controlled the ball most of the first half, limiting the Bulldogs’ scoring opportunities. Devonn Mendoza did manage to get behind the Lions defense in the 39th minute, but sent his shot just wide of the goal.
Apart from that one chance, the Lusher defenders played a sound game defensively. The players on the back end were often in the right place at the right time to deny the Bulldogs (4-11-2).
“We’ve been trying on defense to play with a little more consistency,” Perez said. “It had been nagging us all season long.”
Lusher added two more goals on corner kicks in the second half. David McGrade kicked one in the 48th minute, and Todorovic notched his second goal on a header three minutes later.
“I think we played a really strong game,” Todorovic said. “I enjoy playing teams like this because they give 100 percent throughout the entire game, and it gets us prepared for whatever we have next.”
Daniel Lovett scored a goal in the 64th minute to make it a 6-0 game and put any hope of a comeback completely out of reach. Eli Poche came in as a substitute and capped the day with a goal in the 80th minute.
“It was good to go out and get a clean sheet,” Poche said. “We always want to hold our opponents scoreless if we can. It was good to get a number of players involved early in the game and late.”
Then Lions will square off against No. 5 Leesville, which drew a bye in the first round, in the next round.
While the Lions’ effort Friday was impressive, Perez said there is room to improve.
“We’re going to need to play much better in our next game,” he said. “We can’t give any margin for error because any team (seeded) in the top 10 is going to exploit any mistake you make. We respect that, and we’re going to try to avoid it.”