It isn’t the “Who” that concerns Catholic High soccer coach Josh McReynolds in the Bears’ second round match in the Division I playoffs — it’s the “Where.”
Sure, No. 5 St. Amant is the higher ranked team, and of course the Gators only lost two regular-season games on the way to their first district title since 2002.
But what truly worries McReynolds heading into Wednesday night’s matchup between former district rivals is having to play at St. Amant’s The Pit where the Gators are undefeated on the season and 17-2-2 over the past two years.
“Their field is incredibly narrow,” McReynolds said. “The width that they play at it is right at the minimum the league allows, which mean it has much more of a cage feel to it.
“It definitely gives them a huge home field advance just because of the environment and the style that they play.”
St. Amant and No. 12 Catholic highlight a star-studded second round of the LHSAA soccer playoffs that features seven games hosted by Baton Rouge area teams between the boys and girls brackets.
In Division I, the No. 7 Denham Springs boys host No. 10 Grace King at 7 p.m. Thursday, while the second-seeded St. Joseph’s Academy tries to continue its ascent through the girls bracket against No. 18 Comeaux at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The sixth-seeded East Ascension girls seek redemption against No. 11 Dominican for handing the Spartans their only loss to an in-state team this season, even if coach Chris Goodall is reluctant to call it a revenge game.
Goodall said his team looked back at their Dec. 29 meeting with Dominican — a 2-0 road loss — in terms of game film and strategy, but at the same time, they don’t want to get caught up in revenge.
East Ascension and Dominican kick off at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
“It’s impossible not to (look back at the past game),” Goodall said. “But it’s more from a total point of view and not so much a revenge factor. I think then you’re playing mental games and putting too much pressure onto the girls. It doesn’t work that way.
The No. 3 University High girls continue their defense of the Division III state title against No. 19 Erath at 4 p.m. Wednesday, while the No. 7 Episcopal girls host No. 10 Ursuline at 6 p.m.
Similar to the Catholic-St. Amant matchup, the No. 4 U-High boys already are well acquainted with their second-round opponent, hosting district rival No. 13 Parkview Baptist at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The Cubs won the first meeting between the teams at home, 3-1, and tied, 0-0, in the second game.