No. 6 Vandebilt Catholic had little trouble routing No. 11 DeRidder, 8-0, on Thursday in the LHSAA Division III second-round boys’ soccer playoffs at Buddy Marcello Stadium.
Max Doyle and Brennan Rogers each scored two goals, while Brian Gramajo, Michael Folse, James Leaber and Matthew Rotolo each had a goal.
Vandebilt Catholic will travel to face No. 3 Teurlings Catholic next week in the quarterfinals.
“I thought we came out flat. We scored goals, but still, our performance wasn’t great,” Vandebilt head coach Paul Shenton said. “I chewed them out at halftime because in games like this, we have to give ourselves a boost going into the next game. We need to play up to our standards, not down to lesser opposition.”
“Vandebilt, they’re just very good. You can’t make the mistakes we made against a team like that,” DeRidder head coach David Wilber said. “I’m proud of my boys. We played hard, had a good year, but Vandebilt is just a class act.”
Vandebilt Catholic (13-8-4 overall) dominated possession of the ball from that start and got on the scoreboard in the fifth minute. Clay Collins blasted a long pass to David Emerson, who dribbled into the penalty box before dropping the ball off to Gramajo for a five-yard goal.
DeRidder (17-9-3 overall) best scoring chance came in the 11th minute. Alexci Nava Garcia dribbled past a defender and booted a 15-yard shot. Terrier goalie Landon Andre (four saves) came out of the net to make a sliding save. Nava Garcia followed up the ricochet but kicked the ball over a wide open net.
Vandebilt quickly capitalized. In the 15th minute, Folse headed in an Emerson cross from six yards out. Off a corner kick in the 28th minute, Dragons goalie Cameron LeJeune (14 saves) deflected a Terrier header, and a follow up shot was kicked away. However, Doyle’s shot found the back of the net.
In the 40th minute, Doyle belted a long pass to a streaking Leaber, who punted a 10-yard goal past LeJeune for a 4-0 halftime advantage.
“Offensively, we didn’t get frustrated and kept working. Doesn’t matter if you missed a shot, your memory has to be short, and your skin is thick,” Shenton explained. “They kept finding the targets, whether they’re keeper saved them or hit the crossbar. The attack was pretty relentless and more fluid.”
“We had good speed up top and some kids that can handle the ball,” Wilber said. “But that’s kind of been the story of our year. We get up, miss a few shots, fall behind and have to struggle to get back in the game.”
Doyle scored again two minutes into the second half. After a previous Terrier shot bounced off the crossbar, Doyle blasted the ball in from 12 yards out. In the 59th minute, DeRidder was whistled for a foul in the penalty box. Rotolo successful scored the penalty kick.
Rogers delivered the final goals in the 72nd and 76th minutes, respectively, in similar fashion. He dribbled through Dragon defenders before booting seven-yard shots past LeJeune.
“We did a better job defensively in the second half, playing with more confidence and composure,” Shenton said. “Their keeper came up with some incredible saves. He came up big for them in the second half. We should have had 13, 14 goals.”
“We just wanted to play smart defense. Unfortunately, Vandebilt good at what they do,” Wilber said. “We’re young in the back with four sophomores. We’re trying to get them up to where they need to be.”
Vandebilt played Teurlings Catholic back in November and suffered a 3-0 loss. Shenton believes the Terriers are a better team as they meet again in the postseason.
“I hope there’s a better understanding of their teammates and what each individual player looks for,” Shenton said. “Hopefully, there’s much more cohesion in what they do, and as we rotate players in, the standard doesn’t drop off. They can maintain the pressure, the momentum high, and the speed of play up. Teurlings is going to be a tougher test defensively. If can stay organized, keep the play in front of us and find their weaknesses, we should be alright.”