Hahnville scores opening round win over Byrd, set for second round match with No. 3 seed

It had been 20 years since the Hahnville boys soccer team last won a playoff game.

Had been – as in, past tense thanks to the Tigers’ effort Friday night. 

No. 14 Hahnville defeated visiting 19-seed C.E. Byrd 2-1 in round one of the Division I soccer playoffs, on the back of goals by Evan Oubre and Owen Fontenot as well as a gutty defensive effort that held Byrd scoreless until the final minutes of the match. 

“We’ve played this game all our life,” said Oubre. “We played to our specialty, passing and moving through the mid(field). It’s how we won this game … we pass the ball, we connect and we’ve got a lot of youth and a lot of talent on this team. We got it done.”

HHS advanced to travel for a matchup with No. 3 Denham Springs in a match set for 6 p.m. today. It represents a rematch of a 2022 playoff meeting between the teams, that Denham, the No. 12 seed at the time, won 6-0 over the then 21-seed Tigers. 

Hahnville’s last playoff win came in 2003, a 5-0 win over Ouachita.

Victory was especially sweet for a Tigers group featuring numerous players who nearly broke the playoff victory drought last year, when a late rally by Hahnville forced overtime before Northshore ultimately eliminated Hahnville in a first-round overtime match. 

This time, Hahnville would not allow itself to go one-and-done. 

“Obviously, that was heartbreaking for us last year,” said Fontenot. “This year, we wanted to come back for more. We wanted this and we got it.”

Oubre scored within the first minute of the second half to break what was a scoreless tie at halftime. 

“I saw the ball coming to me … it was a perfect opportunity and I just let it rip,” said Oubre. “It went over the keeper … I think that kicked us off.”

Hahnville head coach Matt Oubre concurred. 

“That was a huge boost,” he said. “I think we carried that energy throughout the rest of the game. The guys showed a lot of heart throughout the second half to finish it.”

About 20 minutes later, midway through the second half, Fontenot got the ball near the goal and found an opening for a score. 

“We connected it up the line and got a ball across the middle.” said Fontenot. “We tapped it over the backline and put it away. Just had to make it happen.”

Byrd threatened a rally late. An apparent goal was negated by an offsides penalty with 2:44 remaining. Joey Stratton’s goal in stoppage time moments later, however, meant the Tigers would have to close strong defensively. 

A scramble by Byrd (8-8-2) to try and knot things up came up empty, however, and when the whistles closed play the Tigers had done something not accomplished in their program for two decades. 

It was the step forward the Tigers desired. Hahnville has taken major steps forward in each season under Matt Oubre, reaching the playoffs for each of the past three seasons and posting a very strong overall win-loss record over that span. This season, HHS moves to 14-2-4. The Tigers have won six consecutive matches. 

“I thought we played outstanding,” Matt Oubre said. “We aim to play fast and physical and we did that … in the first 10-15 minutes, they were really pressing us. Once our guys started figuring that out, we started connecting in midfield and creating a lot of chances going forward.”

He said the win was a special one. 

“The last three years, to see the fruit of all of their hard work showing up and winning today, it means a lot,” he said. 

Defense was just as important as the goals scored. Hahnville thwarted a number of chances for Byrd, including one very dangerous possession for Hahnville where the ball was perilously close to the goal. 

“Trevor Breaux cleared a ball off the line on one of their corner kicks,” Matt Oubre said. “To have the discipline to stay where he was and clear that ball was huge. Little things like that give your whole team energy.”

 

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