Lady Tigers win district championship
Coming into Tuesday night’s soccer match against the Hahnville Tigers, the Destrehan Wildcats had only had three goals scored on them in regulation all season.
The Tigers (7-7-1) matched that total in one game after racking up three points against their cross-parish rivals in their last home game of the season. The Wildcats (12-3-1) were also held to one score on the night.
Destrehan head coach Jhovanny Santamaria, whose team was coming off a 0-1 loss to East St. John, was stunned at the game’s conclusion.
“We have not allowed so many goals per game, maybe one,” Santamaria said. “We have won a lot of games with a shutout.”
The Wildcats were widely considered the favorite having already beaten Hahnville once this season and posting 55 goals for and only three goals against on the season.
Hahnville struck first in the 20th minute with a header by Thane Jurenka.
Although Hahnville controlled the ball for much of the first half and kept the Wildcats out of scoring position, only a few minutes after Jurenka’s score Destrehan would tie it up with a long goal by Kyler LeGrange.
Hahnville head coach Gabriel Briones said the decision to move striker Julius Medina to fullback to strengthen the team’s defense may have had a lot to do with his team’s ability to keep Destrehan from getting more scoring opportunities.
“We made a few adjustments here and there with our lineup and it worked out for us. It worked really good,” Briones said. “We had Julius, who usually plays up front, had him in the back on defense because we needed some speed.”
Going into halftime tied 1-1, Briones gave his team a pep talk.
“They played their hearts out,” Briones said. “At halftime, when we were tied, I said ‘40 minutes – put it all out on the field.’ They did.”
The Tigers came out and dominated the second half by adding two more scores.
Their second goal of the night came at 61 minutes when Craig Ford took a long pass that appeared to have bounced off his left elbow before he took control of the ball in the wide open field and drove it in from the left box.
Santamaria questioned the referee’s no call on the play.
“It was a clear handball and he said it wasn’t,” Santamaria said. “But I would never blame the referee, I blame our team. When we lose, we lose. I don’t care how much of a mistake the refs make.”
In the 74th minute when Chase Ledet scored the Tiger’s third goal off a header, his sideline erupted into celebration.
Although Destrehan was able to speed up their play and get a couple of shots on goal before time was up, they were unable to convert any possessions into scores and the match ended in a 3-1 upset.
Briones said with the win they have a chance at the district title.
“We’ve got to beat East St. John and once we do that I think we will be district champs,” Briones said. “We can do it. We’ve got the high from here and we can take it on out.”
In addressing his team after the game, Santamaria said they were just outplayed.
“Every ball they challenged. They challenged the middle and the back. They wanted it more than we did,” he said. “We thought we were going to come in here and walk away, that it would be a walk in the park.”
With the loss, Destrehan still has a shot at splitting the district title if Hahnville loses to East St. John next week, but Santamaria said that no longer matters now that they lost their chance to win it outright.
“This is the biggest game for these boys. Every time they play Hahnville it is a huge game, but I guess we didn’t challenge every ball,” he said. “There was a lot of disappointment for myself, but especially for the seniors because they were looking forward to winning district before they leave school and graduate.”
Santamaria said his team has to regroup in their game against John Ehret next week and get ready for the playoffs.
“We’ll take it from there and see where we make it in the playoffs and who we play,” he said.
In the match that followed, the Hahnville girls clinched the district title for the second year in a row in a win over Destrehan.
Kaliegh Mayeaux scored her 29th goal of the season to put the Tigers up 1-0 and Kaylie Fabre followed it up by scoring her 13th goal in the 2-0 shutout.
Hahnville head coach Jim Barrouque said although he was happy with the win, he thinks his team could have played better.
“Defensively we played well and offensively we just missed some chances. We missed the goal three or four times tonight,” Barrouque said.
The Hahnville girls will finish up the regular season with games at East St. John on Friday and at home against Mandeville Catholic on Monday before heading to the playoffs.