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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Lady Trojans fall short in title conquest

Lady Trojans fall short in title conquest

No, the Central Lafourche soccer team did not win the Division II State Championship. But the Lady Trojans went out swinging, showing loud and clear that they can compete with one of the best teams in Louisiana.

St. Thomas More beat Central Lafourche 1-0 in Thursday’s Championship Match, which was played at the Soccer Complex on the campus of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

The loss ended the Trojans’ season as the Division II State Runners-up with a 23-5-0 record.

Coach Jude Blanchard said he wishes his team could have won the title, but said he’s proud of their effort throughout the match. St. Thomas More is one of the top teams in Louisiana – an annual contender. But the Lady Trojans weren’t deterred, battling the Lady Cougars at every turn in a close, competitive match.

“I couldn’t be prouder,” Blanchard said after the match. “We were stopped a little bit short of our goal, of course, but we competed. We fought and we really showed the state the type of team that we are. Give credit to St. Thomas More. They’re an amazing team. We pushed them, but we fell just a little bit short.”

Central Lafourche forced the Lady Cougars into a physical battle. Despite being the underdogs, the Lady Trojans were the aggressors for a lot of Thursday’s match, often setting the pace against a St. Thomas More team that has beaten some of the top sides in the stat throughout the year.

The Lady Cougars scored early on a header in the 16th minute, then held on throughout, despite several chances from the Lady Trojans to score an equalizer.

In the second half, St. Thomas More sagged back at times to protect their lead, which caused congestion in the box for the Lady Trojans.

Gabby Hodson had a few good looks at the net, but each attempt was thwarted by the Lady Cougars’ defense, which didn’t allow a goal in the entire postseason.

“They’re a really good soccer team,” St. Thomas More coach Daniel Underwood said. “We really had to compete. Nothing was handed to us. We had to battle. That’s exactly what you’d expect a State Championship Match to be.”

Blanchard agreed, adding that he challenged his team all week to embrace the role of underdogs.

That they did, though they came up a little short.

But even in defeat, the Lady Trojans had a historic season, which united the community.

That counts for a lot, too.

“Not many people thought we could go this far, but we did,” Blanchard said. “And we’re just so proud and happy for the kids. This is a special group.”