Kylie Dufrene and Kayla Martin admitted the first half of Tuesday night’s District 6-I soccer matchup between Hahnville and visiting Central Lafourche was a bit frustrating at times – the Lady Tigers outshot the Trojans 12 to 1 in the first half, yet trailed 1-0 against a team that’s had Hahnville’s number in recent years.
But the two juniors helped key a second half turnaround, scoring the tying and eventual winning goals, respectively, in a 2-1 victory that moved the Tigers to 2-0 in district play.
Dufrene’s score in the box with 16:30 remaining in regulation knotted the game at 1 – Hahnville trailed 1-0 since the 30-minute mark of the first half.
Martin put the Tigers over the top a short time later, after she drew a foul just over 20 yards from the goal. She lofted the free kick into the upper left corner of the net to give Hahnville a one goal lead, and the Tigers controlled the action from there.
“It was tough,” said Martin. “I didn’t think we were playing our best, but we kept the confidence to come back. We know we can win district, and this was a big win.”
Dufrene said the Tigers fell short in past seasons against Central (7-11-1), but were determined to make sure it didn’t happen again Tuesday.
“I just feel like every year they’ve beat us, and every year we’ve felt we were good enough to beat them and we just couldn’t step up to do it. I think this year we were tired of it,” Dufrene said.
Hahnville is 9-7 overall following a pre-district schedule that HHS head coach Edgar Fuentes said was put together to test and prepare his team for district and postseason play. It’s little wonder why – the Lady Tigers snapped what was a near decade-long drought without a playoff win last season, making a run to the Division I state quarterfinals. A second-round upset win over then No. 3 seed Captain Shreve highlighted the season, just one year after the Lady Tigers lost a heartbreaking matchup to Barbe in the final moments of their 2020 opening round game in Boutte.
This Tigers group has introduced several new, young starters, but this team’s talent is not in question – and they’re excited to see how far they can go.
“These are the games that build character, and what can I tell you, we’re super proud of the way we came out in that second half,” Fuentes said. “We overcame adversity … between some of these upperclassmen and some of those freshmen coming together, our sophomore keeper … they kept fighting. They never gave up.”
Hahnville just missed on several first half scoring chances – two shots bounced back after striking dead on the crossbar.
Dufrene finally broke through for her team, though. A key defender for the Tigers, she said this was something new for her.
“I usually don’t play attacking. I’ve never really scored a goal in an important game. When I was in front of it, I just knew we need this. I need to do this to wake everyone up. So, when I made it, I was in shock. I think it kind of lit a fire in everyone else.”
Fuentes said the chance was a product of the Tigers’ style, and the conversion result of a player cool under pressure.
“We were playing with three in the back and two wing backs. We ask our wingbacks to join the offense a bit more. She was in the right place at the right time, and had the composure in front of goal to put it on the far post, and that started it all,” he said.
Martin said seeing the ball finally find the back of the net brought some relief. She launched 10 shots on the night – and when she had a chance at the PK, she was in no mood to miss.
“I had too many shots in the first half – I had to put this one away,” Martin said. “We couldn’t leave with a 1-1. We needed a win.”
The Tigers have a win to celebrate, but another important game looms large this week: rival Destrehan visits Hahnville on Friday night.