NEW ORLEANS — If there was ever an argument for a mercy rule in high school soccer, the Academy of the Sacred Heart’s Division III first-round girls state playoff game against Bossier on Thursday provided it.
Just 25 minutes into the contest, the high-octane ASH offense gave the second-seeded Cardinals with a 6-0 lead, including a hat trick by forward Sarah Martin and two goals by midfielder M.J. Williams.
By the time the officials ended the game 10 minutes early, ASH posted an 11-0 win over the No. 31-seeded Ladykats, who made a five-hour bus ride to be beaten by the three-time defending Division III state champs.
After the final whistle, Martin said that despite the ease of their victory, the Cardinals took the field with the right attitude. This is, after all, the playoffs.
“When you’re in the playoffs, you have to act like every game is the biggest game of the year,” said Martin, who added a fourth goal early in the second half.
Almost from the opening kickoff, the Cardinals displayed superior speed, skill, ballhandling and passing.
Sacred Heart coach Tooraj Badie began filtering in his subs midway through the first half, emptying his bench by the end of the half.
That at least gave Sacred Heart’s second-teamers and JV players some crucial playoff experience. Junior forward Madden Wilbert came off the bench to notch two goals in the second half and had a couple chances for a hat trick.
Wilbert, who transferred to Sacred Heart from McGehee this year, said she was just glad to contribute something to a resounding victory.
“It’s really special,” she said. “It’s a great experience, and you just have to treasure it.”
Although Wilbert was one of McGehee’s stars last year, once she arrived at a state power like ASH, she became another player in the mix for some playing time. As a second-teamer, she was given the task of carrying the squad’s hefty ball bag off the field despite her sterling performance.
“(At Sacred Heart), you really have to work for it,” she said. “It’s not just given to you.”
With the win, the Cardinals advance to the regional round, where they will face the winner of No. 15 seed Erath and No. 18 seed North DeSoto.