Another game, another road trip for the Byrd girls soccer team.
At this point, playing away from Shreveport is no big deal for the Lady Jackets.
“We’ve done it all year,” said Byrd coach Lisa Levermann, whose fifth-seeded team faces No. 4 seed Mt. Carmel in the Division I quarterfinals Monday at 4 p.m. in New Orleans’ City Park. “I think this is our seventh trip on this bus this year.”
Byrd (22-4-5) has become so accustomed to rolling down Louisiana and Texas roads that it rode its “bonding bus” from Zoccolo’s restaurant to its first-round playoff game against Westgate at Lee Hedges Stadium.
The Lady Jackets won that game 10-0 and added a 3-0 road win against Zachary in the second round to reach the quarterfinals. Goalkeeper Janelle Melancon picked up both shutouts, while Eugenia Fletcher has scored four goals in two games.
Byrd and Mt. Carmel are not true rivals, but they aren’t strangers either.
The teams have split their last two meetings, with Mt. Carmel winning 2-0 this season and Byrd grabbing a 2-1 victory last year.
“They got behind us on one (goal), and the other was on a penalty kick,” Levermann said of this year’s meeting in the Mandeville tournament. “They’re a very good team. From here on out, it’s going to be tough anyway. The girls are ready for them.”
They also have become a tighter-knit squad throughout the miles.
Levermann said the multiple trips have allowed the team to work out a routine, and she termed it “fun’ to watch her players scatter to what have become their assigned seats.
The one difference on this trip, however, is the presence of Mardi Gras. The Byrd-Mt. Carmel matchup takes place during a heavy parade day in New Orleans.
“We have no idea what we’re going to face (today) when we get on the bus to go to the game,” said Levermann, whose team departed Shreveport with a sendoff celebration around 1 p.m. Sunday. “We’re trying to figure out how to avoid all the parades.”