LAFAYETTE — The West boys and girls teams won via penalty shootouts when the top high school soccer players in Louisiana squared off at Teurlings Catholic on Saturday in the LHSCA All-Star Soccer Classic.
In the boys game, Acadiana High’s Ross Pellerin made two huge saves in the shootout as the West won 4-3.
“It’s just the luck of the draw,” said Pellerin, who was named MVP. “You go out there, pick a way and stick with it. The best of it happened for me, and I made the two saves.”
The East scored first in the fifth minute when Lusher’s Andrew Malinich made a brilliant pass to his high school teammate Luca Alessandri in the box. Alessandri buried it in the corner past Pellerin to give the East a 1-0 lead.
West coach Curtis Stewart said the first half was a little shaky for his team.
“We had one or two chances, but our passes and touches were off,” he said. “We told them at half that we knew what we had to do, and we came out guns a-blazing in the second half.”
The West got the equalizer in the 45th minute when Teurlings’ Daniel Roy lifted a deflection over Neville’s Jake Messner to knot the score at 1. Four minutes later, Acadiana’s Noah Melancon scored to put the West ahead 2-1.
“A lot of these guys play together,” Stewart said. “After they got the half under their belts, their competitive juices started flowing. It was one-touch combinations up the field, and we were getting opportunities just like that. It was them playing like they were capable of playing.”
The girls game was 1-1 at full time. In the penalty kicks, all five West strikers scored to give them a 5-4 win.
St. Thomas More’s Nicole Dincau, who scored the final PK for the West, said it was no different from a regular-season game.
“I really wanted to win,” she said. “I guess there was a little pressure, but it’s all for fun. Everyone in front of me scored, so I felt like I needed to keep it going.”
After a scoreless first half, Archbishop Chapelle’s Katie Schroeder got the first goal of the game in the 47th minute. Fontainebleau’s Danielle Sabathe made a run into the box and sent a perfect cross to Schroeder, who buried it past Acadiana High’s Alexis Broussard.
West coach Trevor Patterson said both sides were attacking in the first half, but the defenses were shutting that down.
“(The East) was attacking, playing a 4-3-3. I was playing 4-4-2,” he said. “In the second half, we made some adjustments putting some key players on the field, and that pushed us to get that goal and have a couple more chances than they did. We told them whoever scored first would have the momentum. The East scored first, but we never gave up.”
Lafayette High’s Cayla Hebert scored the equalizer in the 58th minute when she sent one from 20 yards over Chapelle’s Kristi Joseph. Hebert, who was named MVP, said she saw Joseph come out early, and she capitalized.
“She came out, and I just looked for the chip,” she said. “The East side was very powerful and they were coming at us, but we kept ourselves composed and tried to find the open shot.”