PRAIRIE BASSE – Juan Carlos Brito may have set a Beau Chene single-season scoring record Tuesday night, but the game belonged to Gators’ midfielder David Smith.
Smith scored two goals, provided an assist and even came up with a first-period save as top-seeded Beau Chene advanced to the boys’ Division II semifinals for a third straight year by eliminating No. 8 Neville 4-2.
Neville ended the season 21-6-5. Beau Chene improved to26-1-5.
The victory also delivers a rematch scheduled Friday night, oflast year’s semifinal match between Beau Chene and Vandebilt.
Vandebilt won that game 1-0 at Beau Chene.
The Terriers, seeded No. 5, advanced to this year’s semifinal by defeating fourth-seeded East Jefferson 1-0 on Monday afternoon.
Vidrine said the loss to Vandebilt last year stayed with him for quite awhile.
“I’ve been waiting for this game (with Vandebilt) for a year,” Vidrine said.
Beau Chene boys’ soccer coach Chad Vidrine said Smith, a diminutive junior, played a complete game on both sides of the field against Neville.
“David had an incredible game. He did all that while he took a beating (from the Neville defenders) the entire time. On his club team, David is a defender and he did a great job of that at midfield in addition to getting that important second goal forus,” Vidrine said.
Vidrine also enjoyed a special moment, recording his 150th career victory since becoming the program’s soccer coach in 2006-07.
Brito, a senior foreign exchange student from Ecuador, scored his 55th career goal this season, one more than former record-holder Brock Hollier, who set the standard last season.
Smith said he worked in unison on the first goal (5thminute) with Brito, who maneuvered through the Tigers’ defenders who were attempting to clear around the box.
“I just set it up on the right side and did what I could to get the ball to Juan Carlos. I timed it and kicked it down to Juan Carlos who was open,” said Smith.
Neville boys’ soccer coach Ben Rogers said his team probably misplayed Brito’s attempt.
“I thought we defended that first goal well until we tried to get clearance. The ball came back instead to their stud (Brito) and he put it away,” Rogers said.
Smith put the Gators in front 2-0 on a ninth minute free kick. Before attempting the kick, Smith said he glanced at the Tigers’ defense and made a decision.
“I set it up like I was going to kick it to the right, and once they set up the defense, I kind of kicked it the other way,” Smith said,
Rogers praised Smith’s effort on the attempt.
“I thought (Smith) made a fine kick. He had great ball control, and I thought we responded well. It was just a good finish on (Smith’s) part,” Rogers said.
Smith scored again in the 13th of the first off a Gaven Stelly assist and later saved a potential Neville score by moving inside the net.
“I saw (goalkeeper Briley Dronet) come out, so I shifted over into the back of the net,” said Smith.
Dronet ventured out too early several minutes later and Neville’s Harrison Travis put the shot away to make it 3-1.
The Gators scored their final goal five minutes later when John Morgan Eaglin broke free and scored off a header sent in from midfield throw in, following an assist from Brito.
Neville’s final goal came in the 80th minute of the second when Alex Varytimidis broke past the Gators’ defenders.
Vidrine said the Gators’ first half scoring flurry was necessary in order to win.
In the second half, Vidrine said the Gators adjusted to more of a defensive posture to counter the Tigers’ physical approach.
“I told them at halftime that we were going to have to toughen up and defend if we were going to get out of here,” Vidrine said.