The No. 2-seeded Lafayette High Lady Lions soccer team answered a few questions loud and clear in Tuesday’s 7-0 state regional victory over Caddo Magnet at Mighty Lion Stadium.
For starters, the Lady Lions didn’t know exactly what to think of this matchup. The same two schools met in the same round last year and LHS escaped with a 1-0 win on penalty kicks.
“I hadn’t seen them play all year and I didn’t have any reports on them,” LHS coach Katie Breaux said. “All I know is that we played them last year and made it out with a PK.”
That mystery was solved pretty quickly with LHS jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead and led 4-0 at the half. Not only could Caddo not stop the Lady Lions’ offensive onslaught, it could not mount one of its own with just one shot on goal in the game.
Of course, the more significant question is how would the Lady Lions respond after the loss of play-making midfielder Riley LeBlanc? The team found out the final word on Monday that LeBlanc’s injury indeed was a torn ACL and that she wouldn’t be available for the rest of the postseason.
“Riley’s a great distributer,” Breaux said. “She can score, yes, but she just great a finding the scorers. But I told the girls that this is what we prepare for all season long. When you lose an impact player, you can hand your head, or everyone can pull together and realize that this is the time to bring everyone up another notch.”
Almost immediately, the teamwork was evident for LHS. At the 34:26 mark, Caroline Mitchell delivered a corner kick off the waiting head of Cayla Hebert for a goal.
“When we get a corner kick, I’m thinking, ‘We’re getting this’,” Hebert said. “I just kind of found that I had an interest in crosses and kept working at it. I just put in the time to get better at it.
“Caroline’s real good at it (corner kicks). She puts the ball in the right spot.”
That collaboration was followed four minutes later by Alexcia Alexander’s long run and goal for a 2-0 lead, but that was a play triggered by a nifty touch pass from Andre Hellickson just past the midfield stripe.
It stayed 2-0 until Hebert did some more damage after a good cross into the box. This time the goal was generated from a pass from freshman Darien Wilson for a 3-0 lead.
That seemed to be the halftime score, but just before the half, Caddo’s goalie made a nice save of a Miriam Arellano shot, but Wilson was there to clean it up for the 4-0 halftime lead.
The second half scoring began with a special birthday present for Alexis Bentley with a goal at the 26:52 mark. Alexander later scored her second goal off an Hebert assist and Syndi Martin scored on an empty goal thanks to Wilson’s shot for the 7-0 final.
“The thing I really like about this team is that when things get tough, no one ever gives up,” Hebert said. “Everyone pulls together and plays hard no matter what.”
LHS will now play the winner of today’s St. Thomas More-Northshore regional game in the quarterfinal round, either hosting STM or traveling to Northshore.