Tori Thomas’ goal lifts Newman past Christ Episcopal for Division IV girl soccer championship

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No. 2 seed Isidore Newman won a 1-0 thriller Friday over No. 4 Christ Episcopal on Strawberry Stadium’s fast turf field to win the Division IV girls soccer state title.

For Tori Thomas, the game’s most outstanding player, and fellow forward Brei Reginelli celebrated their accomplishment after a year focused on redemption.

Last season, eight-seed Newman felt primed to make a run to a fourth straight state championship but top-seeded Loyola Prep handed the Greenies a bitter 2-1 defeat which stayed with them. Newman coach Heather Fitzgerald put last year’s brackets up in the locker room with a sign that noted Loyola Prep were the champions.

“We posted the state champions from last year and it wasn’t us. That was our fuel every day,” Fitzgerald explained.

Needless to say, the reminder had its desired effect.

“It motivated me every day to not have that experience again,” the senior Reginelli said.

Newman (14-5-2) had the lion’s share of possession in the early stages, and Christ Episcopal did just enough to keep the first half scoreless.

The Wildcats from the north shore had more of the ball in the second half until momentum turned the other way in a flash. After a clear chance for Christ Episcopal (13-5) to score, Newman countered when a perfect through pass found the junior Thomas at the top of the penalty box. A low shot stayed on the carpet to beat a well-positioned keeper into the side netting inside the post in the 54th minute.

“There’s no other feeling like it. I knew we weren’t going to get that many chances in this game,” Thomas said, “I knew I had to put it in the back of the net.”

Christ Episcopal can take great pride in reaching the championship in just their third season of LHSAA varsity competition. The young Wildcats will surely make more playoff runs in the near future.

As for Newman, the dynasty is back on track with a fourth title in the past five years.

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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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