Lady Griffins’ early goals enough to hold off St. Amant

Peter Silas Pasqua
St. Amant’s Danielle Barton attempts to steal the ball from Dutchtown’s Lindi Robicheaux in the second half of the Lady Griffins’ 3-2 victory Friday night.

GEISMAR – Dutchtown got three early goals and starved off a St. Amant comeback for a 3-2 District 6-I victory to gain sole possession of first-place Friday night at Griffin Field.

“We are sitting pretty,” Dutchtown head coach Anant Vyas said. “The main thing is trying to get them to play under pressure situations and stay composed when unforeseen things happen and stay composed. That is how a team grows.

“Some of the girls were playing in positions they normally don’t play. This team hasn’t faced this kind of adversity before. We loss two of our defenders and that in essence forced our midfield to come back and strained our defensive effort.”

No. 6 Dutchtown (13-3-2, 4-0) moved into sole possession of first-place in district standings. St. Amant (3-1) held a tie for top billings going into the contest and now sit alone in second-place.

“We are still very much in it,” St. Amant head coach Jason Naquin said. “If we split with them, then it comes down to goals scored. At this point, we just want to go back and see what worked for us and what didn’t.

“They are a very talented team. They have a lot of skill and a lot of speed. I thought that we had the right gameplan tonight and the girls played well. We just gave up too many goals early and it is just very hard to overcome a three goal deficit.”

Dutchtown’s offensive explosion started quickly when Lindi Robicheaux passed across the field to driving Lexi Gibbs who knocked in a chip shot in front of the goal ahead of St. Amant goal keeper Samantha Jackson in the opening minutes.

Within the next few minutes, Chelsea Cruthirds lofted a far shot from the right side that fell into the net around a leaping Jackson to give the Lady Griffins a 2-0 lead.

“I think it was big to get the lead early,” Gibbs said. “We maintained possession really well, too.”

Erica Arnold and Joleigh Hartman would get shots on frame for St. Amant who out shot Dutchtown in the first half, before Cruthirds’ went wide left. Arnold then broke away forcing Dutchtown goal keeper Taylor Kelley to come out to catch her shot.

After a series of shots from Arnold, Jackson tipped out Erica Sweeney’s deflection off Robicheaux’s corner kick.

The Lady Griffins’ final goal came when Cruthirds fed Gibbs just in front of the goal to make it 3-0.

“We have played together for a while so we know where are going to be,” Cruthirds said.

St. Amant got on the board just before half-time when Arnold chest bumped Dana Songe’s pass in just in front of the goal off Hartman’s throw in.

“Somebody missed their assignment,” Vyas said. “Normally, when strikers are moving in to attack in space, there should be someone with them and Erica Arnold was wide open because no one went with her. It was a coverage problem and something that we talked about.”

Gibbs’ shot on an empty net went wide right and Cruthrids free kick was  high in the closing moments of the first half.

“We had some injury problems in the first half that we had to overcome,” Naquin said.  We had to adjust and it is kind of hard to do those things when you are in the middle of it. Unfortunately, they scored all three goals in the first half before we could make that adjustment. They have more overall options then we do but I think it is a testament to how hard our girls played. They were able to hold on to them tonight. Our second half game plan was much better for their attack. They just didn’t give them their way.”

The Lady Griffins out shot St. Amant in the second half as Rachel Jimenez opened it with a shot in front of the goal that Jackson caught. Songe’s drive was stopped by Kelley before Jackson tipped Megan Romaire’s shot off the crossbar.

Arnold’s drive to the left corner cut it to 3-2 after Hartman hit the crossbar. Kelley would deflect another Hartman shot and St. Amant would get only one more attempt as Dutchtown closed out the contest with several attempts on goal the closest coming when Robicheaux when off the crossbar.

St. Amant’s Erica Arnold drives past Dutchtown’s Baige Lipoma on a breakaway in the first half of the Lady Griffins 3-2 victory Friday night. Arnold scored both goals for St. Amant.