Speeding down the left sideline from about 40 yards away, diminutive sophomore Reagan Todd passed to herself a couple of times, fought off two Baton Rouge High defenders and found the corner of the net in with a shot that was a miracle in its own right.
But that blessed shot, delivered on as good a February night for soccer as you could ask for, was all Byrd needed in posting a 2-0 victory over the visiting Lady Bulldogs Wednesday in the second round of the LHSAA Division I soccer playoffs.
Just for good measure, Todd added a second goal late in the contest that sealed the victory for coach Lisa Levermann and company.
“On the first goal I got a good pass from the defense and I just tried to shrivel it up. I tried to cross it in, but it ended up being a goal,” Todd said. “On the second goal, Sarah Tamplin set me up, it re-routed off Summer Netterville, and then Cat Humphrey and Sarah Tamplin and the goalie punched it, and I just rebounded it.”
All that happened within seconds and provided a mouthful for Todd to deliver.
The 2016 state runners-up, the Lady Jackets (20-2-3) will next play St. Josephs Monday at 5:30 p.m. at Byrd.
Byrd goalie Maddy Talbot, an SFA signee, was as lonely as the Maytag repairman Wednesday evening on the wind-swept field. Her defense kept the Lady Bulldogs (14-10-3) at bay with just a couple of weak shots on goal in the first half and none allowed in the second.
That wasn’t true for Baton Rouge goalie Amanda Hillard, who was forced to fend off challenges from Tamplin, Alexis Stevens, Kelsey Smith and Todd in the second half alone. Riley Walker was solid in the midfield.
“Baton Rouge gave it to us tonight, but we responded well,” Levermann said. “It was definitely a physical game and we didn’t get many calls. I’m sure our girls will be sore tomorrow.”
Double-digit Byrd players were knocked to the turf with not a single call against the visitors made by the Lafayette officiating crew.
The game also belong to the Byrd defense led by Taylor Arnold, Eva Paul, Maggie Weldon and the affable Emma Wagner.
“Even though it was a physical game, we can handle physical,” Wagner said. “The key to the game was the speed of the players and we had better touches. As a defense, we definitely feel good about not letting them get a shot off.”
Levermann said the Lady Jackets needed a game like this heading into the quarterfinal round.
“We knew we couldn’t just blow them off, and we kept looking for the back of the net throughout the second half,” she said. “We fought all the way to the end. And our defense had a great mindset tonight, even though they were worried a little bit about the wind.”