Early-season soccer tournaments are a time to learn about the fitness level and toughness of teams.
For the Beau Chene boys varsity and Jesuit junior varsity soccer teams, it was five straight impressive shutout victories.
For the Episcopal girls, the possibility of not advancing to the finals forced the team to come out with renewed vigor.
Beau Chene defeated Catholic of New Iberia 3-0 to win the boys black division in the Fourth Annual Holiday Cup, sponsored by St. Michael the Archangel, on Sunday at Burbank Soccer Complex. The second-ranked team in Division II, Beau Chene (11-0-2) downed Lusher 1-0 in the semis.
Jesuit won its third straight junior varsity boys title. Jesuit won its five matches by a 15-0 margin. Jesuit defeated University 1-0 in the final. That match was called late in the first half by both coaches when a Jesuit player was injured.
Episcopal, the fourth-ranked girls team in Division III, lost 2-1 to Lutcher on Saturday and came into Sunday’s games trailing St. Amant and Lutcher in tourney points with one game to play. St. Amant edged Lutcher 1-0 on a second-half goal by Destiny Bourgeois, and Episcopal beat Catholic High of New Iberia 1-0 on a goal by freshman Sadie Spring to advance to the girls black division final.
The two teams played to a scoreless tie in the first half. Then Episcopal senior left outside midfielder Nicole Newton took over. Newton scored two goals in the first 15 minutes to lift Episcopal to a 2-0 victory over St. Amant.
“We just kept going and fighting even though we were all hurt,” said Newton, who had the assist on the winning goal in the semis. “I was glad to get that first goal in the final, and it went through the hole in the back of the net, and I let everyone know it went in. I think we did well as a team.”
Episcopal (8-2) is led by seniors Newton, sweeper Caroline Goodner, midfielder Summer Rhynes and keeper Moira Fontenot. Six freshmen and an eighth-grader are also in the rotation.
“We’re so young,” EHS coach Matt Shelton said. “At any point, we may have four to five freshmen on the field. This was a good tournament for our freshmen to understand what it takes to play at the high school level. We actually found another level of toughness and pushed through. To see them work through being tired and hurt was important.
“We’ve got high goals and want to return to New Orleans for the state finals. Nicole is a hard-working player, and she does not stop. For her to get that first goal was big for us. That set the tone for the second half. It allowed us to relax a tad and made them press more. St. Amant is a good team.”
St. Amant (7-2), under first-year coach Joleigh Hartman, came into the game with three shutouts in the tourney and five on the season. Two starting defenders were out. Junior keeper Kaitlyn Young had nine saves, including three diving stops to pace the Gator defense.
“I think we did really well in the tournament and have a bright future as we enter district play,” Hartman said. “Episcopal is a strong program, and they played a little better than us. I was proud of our senior, Kirsten Despino, for her leadership and her key goal against Catholic of New Iberia.”
Fontenot had three saves for EHS.
Beau Chene led CHSNI 1-0 10 minutes into the game when Cole Olivier scored on a 6-yard corner shot off a corner kick by Brock Hollier. Andy Meche and Hollier scored second-half goals. Seth Dohmann’s throw-in led to Hollier’s score.
“We’ve only given up three goals all season and we’re hard to score on,” Beau Chene coach Chad Vidrine said. “We feel once we get a lead, we’re hard to beat. We haven’t trailed this year. We play a lot bigger than we are. We have one of the best forwards in the state in Brock Hollier. There was really good competition in this tournament.”
Lutcher defeated Live Oak 1-0 in the boys red division.
Catholic of Pointe Coupee edged St. Michael 1-0 in the girls red division on a 3-1 advantage in penalty kicks.