Baton Rouge High goalkeeper Taylor Theunissen guessed right and saved a critical penalty kick to help lead the Bulldogs to a 3-1 Division I boys soccer bidistrict playoff victory over Zachary at BRHS Friday.
Zachary junior Jacob Agazzi found the left corner of the net in his first penalty kick attempt in the 36th minute to tie the game at 1. BRHS was called for tripping in the box on the play. It was Agazzi’s 36th goal of the season.
Agazzi and Theunissen are teammates on a select team and have spent many hours practicing together. With his team trailing 2-1, Agazzi made another run into the box that resulted in a penalty kick in the 60th minute. Agazzi fired a shot to the middle of the box and Theunissen dove to stop the shot.
“That save changed the game for sure,” BRHS coach Richard Harsch said. “Taylor is a great keeper and very tough. You don’t expect somebody to save a penalty kick. Jacob Agazzi is one of the best players in the state. Our defense stepped up tonight. Zachary didn’t have too many chances.”
No. 14 seed BRHS (13-6-6) advances to a regional game at No. 3 Catholic (11-3-2) next week. BRHS edged the Bears 3-1 in Division I, District 3 action. No. 19 Zachary made the playoffs for the first time in six seasons and finishes 15-7-4.
“We had 11 guys that fought all season long,” Zachary coach Adam Fevella said. “We’re all about the team. We had our chances. We weren’t ourselves tonight.”
BRHS opened the scoring in the 15th minute. Cameron Bachar had an over the top assist to Odin Munguia, who fired a 15-foot shot from the left of the goal for his 10th goal of the season.
“Odin had to shake off a couple of defenders and create the goal,” Harsch said.
BRHS took a 2-1 lead in the 55th minute on a 24-yard goal by Younger Plauche. The play started on a corner kick and the ball bounced a bit in a crowd before Plauche gathered it and took a nice shot for his seventh goal of season.
Grahm Landry got the assist on a nice over the top ball that concluded the scoring. Yvan Muenyi outran the defense on the nice pass and scored from 15 yards out for his 19th goal of the season and a 3-1 lead in the 75th minute.
Theunissen finished with six saves for BRHS. Donnie Haney had eight saves for Zachary.
Zachary picked up a header on three corner kicks that missed. Bachar had a nice run in the second half, but his shot bounded off the right corner post.
BRHS senior captain Michael Smith, a center attacking midfielder, said the Bulldogs have improved so much since of the beginning of the season.
“It was really awesome seeing us pull through and get the win,” Smith said. “One of our problems earlier in the year was consistency. We played well tonight and look forward to a really tough game against Catholic next week. It has been an honor for me to play for coach Harsch for four years.”