At this point, the LHSAA should just rename the Division I state championship game for St. Paul’s.
The Wolves have been there enough.
The top-seeded Wolves defeated No. 4 Lafayette 3-0 Saturday night in the Division I state semifinals to advance to the program’s eighth consecutive state championship match.
Seeking the program’s fifth consecutive state championship, St. Paul’s (25-2) won the 2011 title before falling in the championship match in 2012 and 2013.
It only took 11 minutes for the Wolves to score as Colin Moser laid a beautiful pass into the box that was headed in by senior John Gardner to give St. Paul’s a 1-0 advantage.
The Wolves gave themselves some breathing room in the 30th minute when sophomore Michael Dufour put back a shot off a free kick to extend their advantage to 2-0.
St. Paul’s put the game away in the 61st minute when sophomore James Bradford found the back of the net to make it 3-0. The three goals given up by the Lions tied the season-high for goals surrendered this season by Lafayette.
“The coaching staff had been harping on us about our slow starts the last couple of games,” Gardner said. “We wanted to make it a point to try and come out and start well early on. I thought we did that well. The seniors on this team knew that this was their last game in Hunter Stadium so we didn’t want to leave anything unsettled.”
The Wolves will take on a familiar opponent in the Division I title game in No. 15 Jesuit, who defeated No. 3 Byrd 2-0 in the other semifinal. The Wolves and Blue Jays have had some epic battles on the soccer field. The two teams have played for the Division I state title four times, with St. Paul’s winning in 2011 and 2015, and the Blue Jays winning in 2012 and 2013. The Wolves also defeated Jesuit in the state semifinals in 2014.
The Division I state title game will be at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Louisiana-Lafayette soccer complex.
“It’s kind of fitting that it is St. Paul’s-Jesuit for the state championship,” Gardner said. “It kind of gives you chills. Jesuit is back, and they are playing well. I’m excited to play them.”
The win for the Wolves extends their winning streak over teams from the state to 27 games. The last loss suffered by St. Paul’s to an instate team came against Mandeville on Jan. 24, 2017 (1-0).
Lafayette finished its season 18-2-9.