ARNAUDVILLE — The Beau Chene Gators are hoping an unexpected stretch of defeats will pay off with another deep postseason run.
Beau Chene began the season by posting a 6-1-1 mark, which included a 2-1 home victory over Division IV’s then top-ranked power rankings team in Catholic High-New Iberia.
Beau Chene, though, would soon, and quite unexpectedly, stumble by losing six of its next eight contests as the Gators struggled to score while competing in the Louisiana Showcase of Soccer and the Buffalo Wild Wings North vs. South Challenge.
“Some of those teams we had beaten in years past by a large margin,” Beau Chene senior goalkeeper Briley Dronet said. “So it was disappointing that we were losing to those teams but losing isn’t always a bad thing. It points out your mistakes as a team.”
The biggest mistake for Beau Chene was scoring goals.
During that eight-game stretch, the Gators scored four goals and were shut out five times. A surprising occurrence considering Beau Chene, having made three straight state semifinal appearances, is known for its offensive firepower, averaging 3.6 goals per game last season, a year in which Juan Carlos scored 55 goals.
With only five regular season games remaining, John Morgan Eaglin leads Beau Chene this year with 17 goals.
“We weren’t necessarily playing bad,” said senior captain David Smith, who leads the team with 15 assists. “We just weren’t finishing on chances to score.”
“The worst part was that we were the better team in most of those games,” Beau Chene coach Chad Vidrine said. “For us, it was just lack of finishing games. I just told the guys that once you bust through that wall of scoring off of our set pieces, then it will start raining goals.”
That storm occurred Jan. 4.
Beau Chene found itself trailing Episcopal of Acadiana 1-0 at halftime. Whether it was the stern talking the Gators received from Vidrine or the surprise pep talk by former player Cole Cormier, Beau Chene rallied in the second half for a 4-1 victory.
In the past six games, including the win over ESA, the Gators have gone 4-1-1 and climbed to No. 4 in the Division II power rankings. More importantly the Gators have scored 20 goals in that stretch.
“I knew during that time that this wasn’t the team we were supposed to be,” said senior Lucius Gardner, who is second on the team with 14 goals.
Beau Chene (11-8-3) hosts Division III’s No. 3 ranked-team Bolton (13-7-2) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“We are getting our confidence back,” Smith said. “We just have to keep the intensity up and never take a game or opponent for granted moving forward.”
“Our momentum has definitely turned around,” said Dronet, who has 93 saves on the season. “We feel that we can beat any team we face.”