Catholic gives valiant effort but St. Paul’s pulls through for another state soccer title

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All season long, many observers have been saying that the fight in Division I is to see who would get to lose to St. Paul’s in the finals.

Soccer is rarely that simple. Yet, the beginning of the title game Saturday inside Strawberry Stadium in Hammond saw the top seeded Wolves score in 80 seconds.

That was too easy. St. Paul’s (26-0-0) were called offside. It was a wake up call for the Catholic Bears who started playing frantically, challenging every ball they could.

In the end, the Wolves showed their class and captured a 2-0 victory to finish off their perfect season.

After 20 minutes, it started to look promising for even though St. Paul’s was able to get the ball wide, Catholic was still keeping the sheet clean. Then in the 36th minute, fullback C.J. Paretti made an overlapping run, working the ball into the box. Catholic prepared for the cross, but he decided to shoot the ball directly on target and found the net to make it 1-0.

Throughout the playoffs, a one-goal lead for St. Paul’s felt for most teams like being up 5-0. This one certainly felt that way. However, a determined Catholic came out for thre second half, possessing and outplaying St. Paul’s for the next 20 minutes.

Wolves head coach Sean Moser said on our Monday Night Futbol postgame interview on the field that he was not satisfied with the lackluster performance his players were giving so he tried subbing to get the intensity back.

The Bears threw everything they had into the Wolves’ half of the field but were unable to get the ball past a disciplined defense and keeper Hunter Kergosien. The few times they were able to penetrate the St. Paul’s backline, Kergosien was there to take the life out of them.

The score remained 1-0 until just two minutes remained. That’s when standout senior Michael Dufour, the title game’s most outstanding player, was able to break free on the right wing and score the dagger.

St. Paul’s places yet another star on their kit represented the school’s latest LHSAA conquest, the program’s seventh in the past 10 years and all as finalists, but Catholic (14-4-2) must take great pride in how they stood up to Louisiana soccer’s Goliath.

Moser noted as a positive that he was only losing six senior starters with a boatload of juniors primed to step up next year. It’s quite possible we will be watching DI all season next year trying to find out who will lose to the Wolves in the finals again.

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Alan DeRitter

Alan DeRitter

Soccer Analyst/Coach

2013 – Present…Head Soccer Coach, De La Salle High School 2007 – 2011…Head Soccer Coach, Archbishop Shaw High School 2004 – Present…Director of Coaching for Soccer Innovations of America 2006…Asst. Head Coach, St. Martin’s Girls Team 2006…ODP Louisiana Staff Coach 1986-2005…Brother Martin High School; Head coach 1986; 1994 -2004 State Champions 2000 2000 District 10 Div. I Coach of the…

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