At the start of the LHSAA state soccer playoffs, St. Tammany Parish had 19 boys and girls soccer teams advance to the bi-district round and now four local teams have punched their ticket to compete for a state title in Division I and Division III.
St. Scholastica Academy (20-1-3) will defend it’s Division I state crown, squaring off with No. 1 seed Mt. Carmel. SSA, the No. 2 seed, heads back to Tad Gormley Stadium this Saturday to defend it’s crown going against the Cubs in a 5 o’clock championship match.
SSA netted four first half goals blanking No. 3 Dominican 4-0 Friday in the semifinal match played at Dominican avenging the Doves only loss this season. SSA’s Sam Vercher netted two goals along with one each from Zoe Perrin and Victoria Quiroz. SSA named Brooke Doyle its top defender with goalkeeper Elizabeth “Bizzy” Kalmbach netting the shutout. It was SSA’s 11 straight semifinal appearance, and this Saturday will mark the Doves seventh straight championship appearance. SSA coach Mike Ortner said, “Great to get such a decisive win at this stage of the state tournament. We are excited about the chance to play for another championship. We know we have our work cut out for us playing the top seed and perennial power, Mt. Carmel,” Ortner said.
Mandeville’s Lady Skippers (28-6), the No. 4 seed, battled but came up short falling to Mt. Carmel 4-1 in the other semifinal match played Friday at Mt. Carmel.
Mandeville coach Sean Esker had helped lead Mt. Carmel to two consecutive state titles back in 2001 and 2002 before transferring to Mandeville High. The Lady Skippers graduate six seniors.
In Division II girls’ play, the No. 5 seed Lakeshore Lady Titans’ playoff run came to a close being blanked by No. 1 seed unbeaten Loyola Prep 2-0 in the semis. Congratulations to coach Wes Leake and his Lady Titans on their second semifinal performance in his four-year tenure.
In Division III, the No. 8 seed Pope John Paul II Lady Jaguars, the defending Division III champs, punched their ticket in superb fashion Thursday, blanking district rival No. 12 St. Thomas Aquinas 4-0 sparked by two goals each from Christina and Marlena Cutura. PJP II named Claire Cross and Rachel Edwards their best defenders with keeper Alexis Molero notching her third playoff shutout as the Lady Jags’ defense continued to shine.
PJP II battles No. 2 University Lab this Thursday at Tad Gormley Stadium for the Division III title getting underway at 5 o’clock. PJP II coach J.B. Mahoney says his team is focused on repeating and is playing as one with tremendous team unity.
In boys’ state soccer playoff action, the unbeaten No. 1 seed St. Paul’s Wolves earned the right to defend their state title, blanking stubborn district rival Mandeville Skippers 3-0 in Saturday’s semifinal match played at Hunter Stadium. The Wolves battle No. 3 seed Jesuit in Saturday’s championship match at 7:30. Jesuit trimmed No. 2 Acadiana 4-3 to advance. St. Paul’s Eric Guin finally found an answer for the stingy Mandeville defense notching a goal in the 32nd minute putting the Wolves up 1-0 at the half. St. Paul’s Davis Nietzschman tallied in the 65th minute and the Wolves’ leading scorer Barrick Roberts closed out the scoring a minute later.
Mandeville finishes 20-3-3 and ranked No. 2 in the state according to Maxpreps, and seventh in the nation. Coach Aris Kyriakides said he was proud of the way his boys battled, especially how his seniors showed excellent leadership throughout the season.
In Division III, Northlake Christian School’s Wolverines, the No. 3 seed, won a semifinal thriller 3-2 in overtime decided on penalty kicks turning back No. 2 seed University Lab. NCS keeper Adam Riche’ came up huge in the PK session turning away two shots. NCS’ Richard Humphrey, Jake Lewis and Nathan Pearl converted their penalty kicks. Pearl and Josh Landry netted the Wolverines’ goals prior to penalty kicks.
NCS faces off with No. 1 seed St. Louis Thursday night at Tad Gormley Stadium.

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