The prohibitive favorite at the start of the season, the St. Paul’s boys soccer team continued its dominance of the Division I soccer scene.
Two first-half goals by Austin Groeneveld proved to be more than enough as the top-seeded Wolves defeated No. 3 Acadiana 3-0 in the LHSAA Division I boys soccer state championship game Saturday night at Tad Gormley Stadium.
The win for the Wolves (27-1-3) clinched the third consecutive state championship for St. Paul’s. Playing in their sixth consecutive Division I championship match, it was the fourth title in six years for the Wolves. Ranked No. 1 heading into the match, the Wolves are expected to finish as the nation’s top-ranked boys soccer team, according to MaxPreps.
“This never gets old,” St. Paul’s coach Sean Moser said. “The great thing about this year’s squad is pretty much this is a brand new group. Only three starters on this year’s squad were on the field with the 2015 squad, and maybe one or two others came off the bench. It was nice to see my son (sophomore Colin Moser) be able to be a part of this, too. It definitely doesn’t get old.”
St. Paul’s took a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute. Executing off the counter attack, junior Adam Schellang’s cross found a streaking Groeneveld. The senior’s header found the back of the net to give the Wolves an early lead.
Groeneveld added a second goal in stoppage time, finding the back right corner of the net past the diving Acadiana goalie to make it 2-0.
For his efforts, Groeneveld was named Most Outstanding Player of the match.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything else,” he said. “This is the best feeling in the world. On the first goal, Adam was able to catch me on the break and hit me with a good pass, which I was able to convert into a goal. I got another great pass on my second goal.
“This is all too much — what a game and what a season. Being able to three-peat like this just continues to add to the legacy we as a team are trying to create here at St. Paul’s.”
Dominating possession in the first half, the St. Paul’s defense allowed only two shots on goal by the Wreckin’ Rams in the first 40 minutes.
“It was great to finally get off to a good start in the first half,” Moser said. “But actually I thought our better half was the second half. In the second half, we played better because we kept good possession of the ball and when we had it, we moved it well and had a tremendous amount of scoring opportunities.
“In the first half, we kind of took what they gave us, played it over the top a couple of times and got some free kicks. We cleaned some things up in the second half, I thought, and we played really well.”
Senior Michael Boudreaux got the second half off to a good start for St. Paul’s, launching a shot with his left foot that deflected off the Acadiana goalie and into the net, making it 3-0.