Hahnville’s players sat on their sideline, stunned, moments after their opening round Division I soccer playoff matchup at home against Barbe.
The 10th seeded Lady Tigers were moments away from securing an opening round victory, but a late goal during stoppage time near the end of regulation by Mia Owens tied things up to force overtime. And in the second of two 10 minute overtime periods, Owens found the net again with eight minutes remaining, ultimately proving the difference in a 3-2 Barbe victory.
Barbe, the No. 23 seed in Division I, advances to face No. 7 Central Lafourche in round two.
The tying goal came shortly before the end of regulation, as Nykell Smith booted the ball over the back line of the Hahnville defense. Owens retrieved it with nobody between her and the net and won a footrace before putting the ball into the net to tie the match 2-2 .
“We knew we couldn’t give up,” said Owens. “My girl Nykell, she saw the opportunity and chipped it right over the top. I knew I had to give everything I had and we did it.”
Hahnville appeared to have a goal scored at the other end shortly after Owens’ first score, still in stoppage time, but offsides was ruled. It negated the kick and forcing overtime moments later. The first of two 10 minute overtime periods went scoreless, in part thanks to two Barbe saves on a shot by Hahnville’s Marissa Gilbert and then a rebound on the miss.
In the second overtime, Owens pushed Barbe up when she broke loose from the defense again – and once again, Hahnville came very close to tying on multiple shots, including one that bounced off the crossbar and another on a header that went just wide.
On the late regulation goal, Hahnville head coach Alex Romero said that the long ball was expected from Barbe at that juncture, but that expecting it and stopping it are two different things.
“We knew what they were gonna do … send that big ball over the back line. They’ve got some speed over there,” Romero said. “You can prepare for it, but if you don’t execute well in each aspect of defending it, it won’t matter. Kudos to them, they made the play.”
Romero said the loss was particularly tough to accept given a group of seniors on his team who have battled to lift Hahnville into the postseason each of the past two years. Friday’s home playoff game was Hahnville’s first in nearly a decade.
“That’s the most difficult part,” Romero said. “This is the best we’ve been. We’re ranked 10th, hosting a playoff game … it had been a long time (prior to last season) since we’ve been in, let alone won. It’s something that will stick with us. Our girls fought to the last whistle, but it just didn’t go our way tonight.”
Romero noted the Tigers started a bit slow against a strong defensive team – Barbe’s lone goal allowing more than two goals this season was a 3-1 tourney loss to Hahnville very early in the year. But Gilbert’s first half goal had Hahnville tied up 1-1 at halftime.
In the 19th minute of the second half, Ava Fontenot turned a ricochet off goal into a shot and score at point blank range to push Hahnville’s lead to 2-1.