LAFAYETTE — St. Thomas More boys soccer coach Casey Friend said it took his team about 10 minutes into its Division II semifinal matchup against Beau Chene to come down from their pregame excitement.
After the excitement, STM settled in and turned in an all-around effort in a 5-0 victory Saturday.
“(Beau Chene) is a great team,” Friend said. “They’ve been playing at this level for about four years in this stage, and our boys had too much adrenaline at the beginning of the game. Once we finally settled down, we began to play our game and win the ball in the middle.”
Jack Meijer got the scoring started in the 29th minute to put the Cougars up 1-0 at halftime. STM got goals from Blake Bolgiano and Ormond LaSalle early in the second half to take a 3-0 advantage.
The STM defense did their part by shutting down the Beau Chene attack and, after two late Cougars goals, they moved into the state final for the first time in 10 years.
“Our defense has been playing solid since January,” Friend said. “Parker Pelletier, Micahel Fatjo, Jack Meijer and Connor Latiolais have been solid, and they’ve been the engine of this team. We don’t give up soft goals, and the way we’ve been playing, we get one goal, we win the game.”
One key to the game happened in pregame, when Beau Chene coach Chad Vidrine was informed Charles Williams, one his best players, was ruled ineligible to play because of a red card in the Gators’ 2-1 quarterfinals win over Alexandria Tuesday.
Friend said he and STM athletic director Danny Broussard called the LHSAA on Friday and they informed them Williams would be ineligible because of a straight red card due to “violence.”
“(Williams) is a great player,” Friend said. “I went up and told (Vidrine) I didn’t want to win on a forfeit. I knew if (Williams) played even one minute and they were to win, he would forfeit. It was a big decision.”
Vidrine said he was not informed of Williams’ ineligibility until right before kickoff, but offered no further comment. Friend said he believes Williams would have no doubt made a difference in the game, but he still feels his team would have come out on top.
“With him being in, maybe the game isn’t 5-0,” Friend admitted, “but the way we are playing, we’d still score two goals.”
Friend said he is excited to take this group to the state final. He said a key to winning the match will be if they can come down from a pregame high a little sooner.
“This is something that these boys have worked up to for four years,” Friend said. “It is a big honor to see them playing together. Going into the finals, I hope to God we just calm down. The first 10 minutes could mean the whole outcome of the game. We just need to play our own game.”