Hahnville’s Kayla Martin entered Sunday’s Division I playoff soccer game between the 16th seeded Lady Tigers and visiting 17-seed New Iberia three goals away from 100 scored in her prep career.
Well, on Sunday she scored two – and she might just get that 100th soon enough, as Hahnville advanced to round two of the postseason with a 2-0 win over the Yellow Jackets at Tiger Stadium.
Hahnville advances to round two where it will draw No. 1 seeded St. Joseph’s Academy, which shutout No. 32 seed Zachary 7-0 in the first round.
“It’s unusual to play on a Sunday, but we couldn’t agree on a time so we ended up taking it to the LHSAA deadline. But, if we get that kind of crowd, I’m for playing on a Sunday every time,” Hahnville head coach Edgar Fuentes quipped., noting the strong turnout of vocal supporters “Our girls brought it. It was hot today, we hadn’t played in over a week and it took a while to break them down. A lot of things could have gone wrong, but they kept their composure and executed.”
Martin scored a goal in each half, the second coming on a short shot in the New Iberia box with just under 11 minutes gone in the second half. That gave the Tigers (12-8-3) the cushion they needed to safely land their plane in round two – though it hardly meant they would stop attacking, as Hahnville generated several more shots at the goal over the course of the afternoon.
“We’re better when we stay aggressive. When we stop pressing, we tend to make mistakes,” Martin said.
Added defender Abby Mosley, “We tend to lose our intensity (when HHS stops pressing), so instead of staying back, we keep going.”
Martin’s first goal came despite tight defensive attention.
“I knew I needed to score … I had the defender on me so I knew I had to act quick,” Martin said.
There were other chances on the day: Addison Agnelly hit the left bar after finding an opening, while two Martin shots were stopped by a strong defensive play and missed just wide, respectively.
But Hahnville largely dominated possession on the day and the Tigers’ defense stepped up when New Iberia (13-9-2) advanced the ball deep into their territory. Two shots in the box within the final few minutes were cleared by good Hahnville defensive plays, which largely ended the threat of a Yellow Jackets comeback.
After a heartbreaking opening round loss to Barbe in 2020, the Tigers have made winning in the playoffs a habit. Sunday’s playoff win was Hahnville’s fourth in the past three seasons: a quarterfinal run in 2021 saw HHS score upsets over Thibodaux and Captain Shreve. Last season, the Tigers upended Live Oak in round one.
This one was a bit different, as Hahnville entered as the higher seed for the first time over the four victories – and took care of business at home as the soccer program continues to ascend.
“The players, the parents, the booster club … the amount of support at this school has been phenomenal,” Fuentes said. “I like to say it takes a village, and we have a great village here at Hahnville.
“This was one we said beforehand, we’re supposed to win this one. We’re not supposed to get excited – let’s go after that second one coming up. We’re building a culture and we’re heading in the right direction.”
Mosley said there’s a special sense of satisfaction for the team’s players and the work they’ve put in to make success – Hahnville is reigning back-to-back district champion as well – a reality.
“We put so much hard work into it, and now we’re finally starting to find a rhythm,” said Mosley, a senior. “I think over the years, we’ve connected better and created a really positive environment. We play for each other, we feel connected and that always helps.”
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