Beau Chene boys’ soccer coach Chad Vidrine knows what to anticipate Tuesday night when his team faces Neville in a Class 4A quarterfinal playoff match.
It’s a question of familiarity, Vidrine says, contrasting styles that could become problematic if his team becomes too lackadaisical offensively.
Neville features a physical, defensive-oriented style that contrasts Beau Chene’s speed up top.
The contrast in styles could make things interesting, said Vidrine.
“We know very well what Neville likes to do. They are a very solid team and what they like to do makes them very dangerous,” Vidrine said about the Beau Chene-hosted 6 p.m. contest.
Vidrine, whose team is 25-1-5 and the top-seeded Class 4A team, beat Neville 1-0 in a game played Dec. 30 at Monroe.
Neville defeated Beau Chene 3-0 in a game played last season.
“In the game this year, we had a lot of chances, but we couldn’t put the game away. We had a lot of opportunities, but we missed on a lot of goals.
“We took 21 shots, but only eight of those shots were on goal. They are very physical and that is how they defend. They certainly have size and that makes it tough for us,” said Vidrine.
While the Gators also display an unyielding brand of defense — 25 shutouts — Vidrine said not challenging the Neville defense would be a mistake.
“The biggest mistake we could make is to let Neville hang around in a one-goal game, let them score and play defense.
“We’ve practiced hard this weekend. We worked a lot on our half-field offense,” said Vidrine.
Since the Gators and Neville last met, Neville has charted a successful course.
The Tigers won the last nine regular season games and have allowed only one goal in their two playoff victories.
Neville, seeded 8th, has defeated No. 22 Belle Chasse(6-1) and Beau Chene district rival and No. 9 St. Thomas More (1-0).
While Neville’s defense is obviously helped the Tigers during the playoffs, the Gators have been outscoring opponents.
Beau Chene opened the playoffs with a 10-0 win over No. 32 Landry-Walker. The Gators followed that with an 8-1 regional victory over Tioga. In the Tioga game, Beau Chene scored seven unanswered second-period goals.
Vidrine said the Gators’ offense has improved as the season has progressed.
“We’re much different offensively than we were in December. We can’t leave Neville in the game and be disciplined. I think our offense will allow us to do that,” said Vidrine.
The Gators’ offense features senior foreign exchange student Juan Carlos Brito (54 goals this season), who can attack from the midfield and forward positions.
Garrett Judice and John Morgan Eaglin are two forwards who are often fed by team assist leader David Smith.