Soccer

Bossier boys’ memorable soccer season ends

BATON ROUGE – Bossier boys soccer coach Brad Bernard wasn’t going to allow a season-ending defeat to curb his enthusiasm for the future of his program.

“We had our first playoff win in seven years,” Bernard said of last week’s 3-0 first-round win over The International School of New Orleans. “We’ve been building with a lot of young kids. We only lose our two captains and have some kids coming back that didn’t play. We’ll also get our goalie (Kaleb Ortega) back.”

No. 8 Episcopal put No. 9 Bossier on its heels with a goal three minutes into Monday’s Division III state regional playoff game and expanded on a two-goal halftime lead with two more in the second half for a 4-0 victory at Episcopal’s Memorial Field.

The Bearkats, second to Loyola in District 2-III, finished with a 13-6 record.

“I think the biggest thing it’s one of those private school intimidation things,” Bernard said of Episcopal, which won the 2013 state championship and advanced to its second straight quarterfinal. “They’re a top-tier program year in and year out.

“It’s like a deer in headlights and then we finally settled in. I thought we played pretty well.”

Ortega rebuffed an early scoring opportunity, deflecting Andrew Gould’s 1-on-1 chance that bounded to Chima Mbagwu in the left side of the penalty area, resulting in a point-blank goal.

The Knights made it 2-0 in the 36th minute when Gould got around Ortega, who aggressively came out high to challenge, resulting in a short tap-in.

Ortega finished with eight saves, keeping Bossier within striking distance until Episcopal struck for goals at the 47th and 72nd minutes.

Episcopal (15-4-1) switched formations and unleashed a flurry of five shots on goal coming off four straight corner kicks, with leading scorer Trevor Bisson converting a rebound into the net.

Prior to that possession Bossier, which was outshot 23-6 overall and 17-4 on target, threatened with its best scoring chance when Episcopal goalie David Tatman saved a header in the box from Hafid Algahim.

Rene Alvarado also got a hold of a header off the Bearkats’ first corner in the 74th minute, but it rolled harmlessly to back-up goalie Johnny Davis.

“Sometimes you just play a better team than you are,” Bernard said. “It started slipping away, but not because of something we were doing. It just truly showed how good they are.”

The Bossier Bearkats boys soccer team lost at Episcopal on Monday.

The Bossier Bearkats boys soccer team lost at Episcopal on Monday.