Playoff Soccer Continues for NS Teams
The LHSAA Division III boys’ and girls’ state soccer championship matches are on tap tonight at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans and two quality St. Tammany Parish clubs are in the mix vying for some state championship hardware. The girls’ Division III championship match features the defending champion Pope John Paul II Lady Jaguars, the No. 8 seed, coached by J. B. Mahoney and John Hall. The Lady Jags (14-4-5), square off with No. 2 seed University Lab (22-1-3) at 5 o’clock.
PJP II has ignited the spark, and are playing with team unity as the Lady Jags are focused to repeat as Division III state champs.
Coach Mahoney said,” Team is unified and together. It is an advantage that we won state last year at the same venue. The kids are looking forward to the match,” Mahoney said.
PJP II has played phenomenal soccer peaking in the playoffs with a nice balance of timely, early offense along with tough, aggressive defense. The Lady Jags are sparked by the dynamic scoring combo of the Cutura sisters, senior Christina and sophomore Marlena. Christina tops the Lady Jags with 27 goals and 16 assists. Marlena has contributed 24 goals with a team-high 19 assists. The Cutura sisters were also key members on the Lady Jags’ state champion volleyball team coached by Rachel Battistella and Danny Tullis.
PJP II has outscored its playoff opponents 23-1 en route to making it back to tonight’s championship contest.
PJP II senior goalkeeper Alexis Molero has only allowed one playoff goal in the four victories supported by the superb defensive play of her Lady Jag teammates spearheaded by Claire Cross and Rachel Edwards. The Lady Jags had their usual pasta salad and ice cream get together last night at the Molero’s house so PJP II should be primed and ready to defend their crown.
On the boys’ side of the Division III state championship match, the No. 3 seed Northlake Christian School Wolverines (21-1-8), coached by Nick Chetta, go up against No. 1 seed St. Louis Saints out of Lake Charles (20-3-4) at 7:30.
The Wolverines suffered a big blow losing leading scorer Mason Cook, who suffered a broken ankle in the team’s hard-fought 3-2 semifinal overtime victory Saturday over No. 2 University Lab, advancing on penalty kicks. Cook netted 31 goals before his injury. The Wolverines will be counting on Clayton Gill, who enters with 19 goals. Wolverines’ senior keeper Adam Riche’, who has been spectacular, only allowing eight goals this season. The Wolverines, the state runner up last year to Lusher, feel they have some unfinished business. Coach Nick Chetta, considered one of the best high school coaches in the state said, “My team has been working very hard, and we believe it’s OUR TIME.”
Best of luck to NCS and PJP II both seeking some additional championship hardware.
Two other Parish teams, the No. 2 seed, defending state champion St. Scholastica Doves (20-1-4), coached by Mike Ortner, and the No. 1 seed unbeaten St. Paul’s Wolves, the defending state champs, coached by Sean Moser, are back to defend their crowns on Saturday. SSA goes against No. 1 Mt. Carmel Saturday at 5, followed by St. Paul’s meeting No. 3 Jesuit at 7:30.