After two district matches that produced scoreless ties, host Destrehan and quarterfinal opponent Central Lafourche stepped on the field Monday to break the seemingly infinite tie between the teams. And after an early Destrehan goal, the Wildcats seemed primed to take control and move on to their second consecutive Division II semifinal.
But the tide turned suddenly toward Central Lafourche, and never turned back. The Trojans scored two goals in rapid succession to take a 2-1 lead, then added another two scores before halftime en route to a 4-1 victory and trip to the semifinals.
For Destrehan (19-2), the fourth seed in Division II, it was a jarring way to end what was a massively successful season, less because the loss came in the quarterfinals than the way in which it came. Destrehan’s record-breaking defense allowed just seven total goals this season prior to Monday’s four-score first half by Central.
“We probably got overexcited after we scored that first one,” said Tayler Tabb, who scored that initial go-ahead goal for the Wildcats less than 10 minutes into the game, her 22nd score of the season. “We let our guard down and they got through … we couldn’t get back up.”
All four of Central Lafourche’s goals came off of set plays following a throw-in, corner kick or free kick. Destrehan coach Mert Deger said the Wildcats were wary of Central’s execution on those plays, but that they ultimately had no answer.
“We knew they were dangerous with those set pieces, and tonight we didn’t do a good job defending them … we were hoping to break that early goal and we did in the first 10 minutes,” Deger said. “But Central’s a physical team and didn’t go away … it was a well-deserved win for them.”
After Central banked back to back goals, they began to cement things on goals by Clare Hodson and McKenzie Champagne, respectively.
Destrehan had its own scoring opportunities, but a handful of chances to perhaps turn things around sailed just high or wide — a Noelle Kelley free kick, for one, looked on target for a score, but hit the football crossbar just above the goal, representing the night as a whole, one in which the Wildcats were just a bit off.
“All year long we allowed seven goals, so to give four in a half … it was a bad ending to a great season,” Deger said. “I’m proud of how they competed all season long. This was just their second loss … they have so, so much to be proud of.”
For Tabb, a senior, it was a bittersweet end to a run with her teammates that has in many ways put soccer on the map at Destrehan. A hyped and vocal crowd was out for the quarterfinal game, a product of the Ladycats establishing themselves as one of the state’s top contending soccer teams after a semifinal run last season and this quarterfinal run. Destrehan entered the postseason with the most wins of any Division II team and earned back to back district championships.
“We’ve been playing soccer for a long time and played games in front of just our parents, so to have a whole stadium cheering us on is such a great thing,” Tabb said. “The school came out and supported us and cheered us the whole game. I think it’s great for our school and great for the sport in general, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”