A freshman forward took care of the scoring. And veteran coach Sheila Achee achieved a milestone victory.
It was a festive night for Baton Rouge High as the Division I girls soccer playoffs began Thursday.
Natalie Presedo scored a goal in each half as ninth-seeded BRHS (22-3-3) defeated Bossier City-based Parkway 2-0 in a bidistrict playoff match at BRHS. The Bulldogs advance to a regional playoff match against the Live Oak-Mandeville winner. That game will be played at 3 p.m. Friday.
Achee won her 400th game at BRHS. Her career record is 400-97-31 in 23 seasons with 18 district championships, including this season.
Only two other Louisiana coaches are in the 400-win club. Calvary Baptist’s Shelley McMillan and Mandeville’s Sean Esker are the others. Achee is the only coach to accomplish the feat at one school. After the game, she was presented a commemorative plaque and greeted by many former players.
“It’s exciting to get the 400th win and do so in the playoffs,” said Achee, a 1982 BRHS graduate.
“It’s a real testament to all the great kids we’ve had at the school. A lot of kids worked hard to build the program, and we’ve been able to maintain it.
“It was particularly exciting for me to share it with these seniors. They’ve been through a lot the last four years. They’ve worked hard and really deserved to be able to share in this. It makes it extra special.”
BRHS outshot Parkway 28-0 and played the majority of the game on its offensive end. Parkway (13-14-3) dropped its midfielders to the back and often had eight defenders across.
Presedo scored in front of the box in the 33rd minute off an assist from senior Kayla Ashford. Her second goal came in the 69th minute off an assist from Samantha Rhodes. Presedo had two other shots bound off the goal supports.
“It was exciting to score the first goal and give us some breathing room,” said Presedo, who scored her 34th goal of the season. (She is two goals shy of the single-season school record for goals held by Emily Cancienne). All the players were excited to be a part of the 400th win.”
The Bulldogs are led by seven seniors, including defensive anchor Emily Segura and goalkeeper Rachel Bourgeois. Achee said the team has a good mix of upperclassmen and that the future of the program are freshman Presedo, Kennedy Smith and Lindsay Scalzo.
“Scalzo is a tremendous defender,” Achee said. “Kennedy Smith has tremendous speed up top. And Natalie Presedo has very quick feet and is very composed in front of the goal. She has real good vision of the goal and the field.”
“We knew it was going to be a defensive game,” said Parkway coach Randy Alexander. “Our passes and traps weren’t where they needed to be. Baton Rouge is a good team and they played well.”
BRHS has advanced to the playoffs in each of Achee’s 23 seasons.