The Loyola girls soccer team has lived up to its No. 1 seed in the Division III playoffs so far.
The Lady Flyers advanced to the second round on a forfeit and won their next two games by a combined score of 8-0.
But Loyola coach Mark Matlock is making sure his team isn’t looking ahead to the championship game just yet. The Lady Flyers need to get past No. 5 Catholic High on the road in New Iberia in the semifinals today at 5:30 p.m.
“There is definitely some excitement, but our theme has been one game at a time in the playoffs,” Matlock said. “I don’t want us to look past anybody. The best team doesn’t always win in games like this. I don’t want us to expect to get there because we are the No. 1 seed. We have a job to do before we can worry about the final.”
Loyola hasn’t been to the state semifinals since 2004, when the Lady Flyers lost 5-1 to St. Thomas More and hasn’t been to a championship game since 1998.
“It’s going to come down to us taking advantage of the opportunities we create (against Catholic),” Matlock said. “If we can finish our chances around the goal, I think we will have a very good chance to win. If things frustrate us, it will be important not to lose our patience.”
Matlock expects Catholic High to force a slow pace and try to limit the Lady Flyers’ attack.
“From what I’ve seen from their quarterfinal game, I expect them to play defensive and put a lot of numbers behind the ball,” he said. “They will try to counter us instead of playing us straight up, so we expect to have to go through 10 players before we have a shot at the goal.”
The Lady Flyers are traveling to New Iberia today and plan to stop halfway for a short workout and lunch.
“We will get off the bus, do some stretching and some ball work,” said Matlock, who
employed a similar strategy for Loyola’s regional win at Neville. “I think it’s important to split the drive, not just go for four or five hours and jump off the bus and try to play right away.”
So far, it’s been Loyola’s defense leading the way. The Lady Flyers haven’t given up a postseason goal and hope to keep the streak going.
“Individually, all of our players are good defenders one-on-one,” Matlock said. “But right now, they are working as a unit very well together. They are communicating and covering for each other very well right now.”