Days after his team’s 5-0 loss to host St. Thomas More in the Division II state semifinals, Destrehan coach Kyle Tizzard kept perspective of what his team accomplished this season.
The Ladycats (15-7-1) advanced to the first state semifinal in the program’s history, won its district championship and dethroned two-time defending champion Lakeshore in the quarterfinal round — the last feat represented the first time Lakeshore has lost in the playoffs on its home field.
“Going into the season, I knew we had a strong team that had the chance to make it far in the playoffs, and that’s what we did,” Tizzard said. “I think the girls are seeing it. Not only what they were able to do this season, but the chance ahead of us for next year.”
Destrehan loses three senior players, two of them starters, in Camille Alack, Elizabeth Kelley and Melissa Meyer, but will return the rest of this year’s semifinalist as several juniors and sophomores garnered starting experience in big matches. Alack and Kelley were cornerstones of a strong defense this season.
Among players returning will be leading scorer Morgan Rigby, who finished with 20 goals. Noelle Kelley will be another returning player after leading the Wildcats in assists with 26.
“We’ll be an upperclassmen-heavy team next year, and almost the entire bunch will have been starting for two or three years,” Tizzard said. “We’ll be heavy on experience and I think we’ll be strong in most areas.”
The semifinal loss, Tizzard said, came against a top-seeded St. Thomas More squad that looked every bit the part of its ranking. The Cougars scored a goal in the opening 10 minutes and ran out to a 4-0 halftime lead.
“St. Thomas More played like a team bound to win state,” Tizzard said. “They kept the pressure on us and they played with a lot of physicality.”
That said, Tizzard was quite proud of his team’s resilience.
“(St. Thomas More) didn’t take their foot off the pedal,” Tizzard said. “But our girls gave everything they had and held them to one goal in the second half. They played with pride until the end.”
He believes the loss will serve as strong motivation for his team headed into next season.
“You remember what it felt like to lose 5-0,” Tizzard said. “In summer workouts, in practice and in games. It just serves to motivate the girls to want to be that team that hands out the 5-0 butt-kicking. It lights a fire.”