Ninth-ranked Baton Rouge High had already wrapped up first place in Division I, District 5, but Saturday afternoon’s boys soccer match with No. 6 Catholic still carried weight.
Playoff seedings won’t be announced until Wednesday, but getting in position for the best possible ranking was important to both teams as Catholic edged Baton Rouge High 1-0.
Trey Poche’s 63rd-minute goal provided the difference for the Bears, a score that also gave Catholic (13-6-1, 9-3) its second win of the season over Baton Rouge High.
“From our standpoint, we wanted to finish up with a good game going into the playoffs, and lock up a quality seed,” Catholic coach Bo Cassidy said.
“The one thing about today’s match was the winner will get to host the first two rounds in the playoffs. That’s kind of what we were playing for.”
Baton Rouge High (18-7, 10-2) has spent most of the latter half of the season ranked in the top 10 and hopes to continue that trend when seedings are announced.
“Hopefully a 1-0 loss to the sixth-ranked team won’t set us back too much,” Baton Rouge High coach Richard Harsch said. “We’ve played some pretty tough competition so hopefully we’ll get a top-10 seed.”
After a scoreless first half, Catholic came out aggressively in the second half, possessed the ball for most of the first 20 minutes.
The Bears broke through when Poche ran down a pass in the penalty box. Baton Rouge High goalkeeper Noah Cormier charged the ball, but Poche got to it first and tapped the ball away.
Facing an open goal, Poche calmly put his kick into the right side of the net.
Baton Rouge High had chances to tie in the closing minutes but couldn’t crack the Bears’ defense.
Following a Baton Rouge High free kick in the 74th minute, Frank Rodriquez centered the ball from left of the goal setting up Jason Xie. Catholic goalie Connor Rabalais stopped Xie’s kick to the right side of the goal.
In the 78th minute, Rabalais stopped Kiet Truong’s long, but on target shot. A minute later, the Bulldogs ran down a through ball but were called for offsides.
“Today, we came out flat and got out of our game. We didn’t play our possession game,” Harsch said. “I thought the last match was more evenly played, but they outworked us today.
“We were defending most of the game and couldn’t really mount much of an attack. When you’re defending most of the game, you give up a goal and you end up losing.”
Baton Rouge High’s Grant Odenwald was on target early with a header off a long free kick, but Rabalais made the save.
Midway through the half, Rabalais stopped shots by Odenwald and Rodriguez.
Catholic’s best shot in the first half came in the 25th minute, but Ben Westra’s shot from the top of the penalty box bounced off the crossbar and over the goal.
“I thought we did a much better job in the second half,” Cassidy said. “In the first half, we gave the ball away a lot, so we talked about it at halftime.
“It was about supporting players based on pressure and trying to keep the ball a little bit because that’s when we created chances.”