U-High soccer teams family at the core _lowres

Advocate staff photo by John Oubre -- University High's boys soccer coach Chris Mitchell.

If persistence counts for anything, then the University High boys soccer team will be in good shape for its Division III semifinal game against Northlake Christian.

The semifinal appearance is the third in four seasons for the No. 2 Cubs (26-1-2), who have advanced at least as far as the quarterfinals each of the past 13 seasons. So far, the highlights are a pair of state runner-up finishes in 2009 and 2010.

“We’ve gotten really close,” U-High coach Chris Mitchell said. “We’ve been knocking on the door. We’re always in the hunt it seems like. Hopefully this will be the year we break through.”

The first step in the breakthrough would be a win against third-seeded Northlake Christian (19-1-8). The teams meet at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at UHS’ Boss Field/Gill Stadium.

In 2012, Northlake Christian took a 1-0 semifinal win over U-High, but the Cubs returned the favor the next year in the quarterfinals. U-High edged NCS 2-1 in that 2013 contest.

The two schools also met earlier this season. They played to a scoreless tie at the Copa Acadiana Tournament back in December.

“It goes to show that this will be a very competitive game. The teams are very evenly matched,” Mitchell said. “It’s basically what you would ask for and expect out of a semifinal game.”

The U-High offense is led by forwards Thomas Kobetz and Maddy Vick. Kobetz leads the team with 33 goals while Vick has scored 18.

In quarterfinal play, Division III’s top four seeds all advanced to the semifinal round.

Five Cubs scored as U-High ended the Cinderella run of No. 23 Riverside Academy with a 5-0 win. Northlake used first-half goals by Miguel Black and Clayton Gill to post a 2-0 win over No. 6 Episcopal of Acadiana. Top-seed St. Louis hosts No. 4 Isidore Newman in the other semifinal. The championship will be played Thursday evening at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans.

“All four teams have been at the top all year long, and I think its appropriate that we’re all in the semis,” Mitchell said. “Both games are going to be very competitive, and could go either way.”