SUBTLE SHIELD: East Ascension’s first half goals set tone over St. Amant

Peter Silas Pasqua
East Ascension’s Jared Hill seeks possession as St. Amant’s Cody Nickle defends in the first half of the Spartans’ 4-1 District 6-I victory Thursday night at Spartan Stadium. Hill scored the first goal of the night for East Ascension.

East Ascension scored two goals in the first half and added two more in the second half to counter St. Amant on way to a 4-1 District 6-I victory Thursday night at Spartan Stadium.

Jared Hill converted a header from Carlos Hermosillo less than eight minutes into the contest to put the Spartans ahead.

“It gave us a nice little cushion, I think,” East Ascension head coach Bruno Van Moer said. “I liked that our guys just kept pressuring and attacking. We didn’t play as well as we could have. We played very well on turf in our last two games and it is a little different playing on grass.

“The guys are tired right now. I think we played a little sloppy but overall I am pretty happy with the performance. The guys hung in there because St. Amant kept pressuring hard. They had some real nice opportunities but I just think the guys held it together pretty well.”

Brandon Ruiz finished with two goals for East Ascension (13-4-3, 8-2), while Hill and Justin Cornes provided one goal apiece and Jade Tomeny had eight saves.

Trett Bourgeois scored the lone goal for St. Amant (16-10-3, 5-5), while Michael McDonald provided seven saves.

“We had opportunities,” St. Amant head coach Adrian Garcia said. “I thought we started settling down after they went ahead.  We loss one of our key players early in the game to injury. Our thing is throw ins and we just have to do a better job of capitalizing on that. EA is good at capitalizing on your mistakes and we didn’t do that tonight.

“We always felt like we were in it but when we couldn’t finish, it kind of took the wind out of our sails and EA is always attacking. No matter how long soccer has been at the school, St. Amant boys don’t give up. They don’t care about the score and ours didn’t tonight.”

Chase Squires took the first two shots of the night off passes from Jaxon Lambert and Bourgeois that were just high and wide left.

After East Ascension went ahead, Ruiz’s header went over the goal off Patino’s corner kick before he was wide left from Hill’s throw in. McDonald then deflected Carlos Hermosillo’s far attempt.

Ruiz headed Patino’s corner kick into the goal with 27:45 left to play in the first half to put EA ahead 2-0.

Hill’s header attempt from Jack Cockrum went over the crossbar before Edwin Morales was wide right.

St. Amant nearly scored with under eight minutes to play in the half but was ruled offsides. Squires then headed over Lambert’s throw in before Tomeny stopped Lambert’s attempt.

Hill and Ruiz’s attempts to open the second half were corralled by McDonald and wide before Tomeny handled Bourgeois’ through ball. Tomeny then cleared Lambert’s penalty kick from a hand ball in the box before another free kick was wide left.

Bourgeois beat defenders shortly after to cut it to 2-1 with 28:15 left to play. Squires’ header attempt off Bourgeois’ cross was then high before Lambert was wide right off Rantz Bourgeois’ corner kick.

After McDonald stopped Justin Guillory’s free kick and Dylan Galatas was wide right for St. Amant, Robinson Almeida fed Ruiz pass defenders who shot though McDonald to put East Ascension ahead 3-1 with 17:15 left to play.

Hermosillo fed Cornes from a cross sliced back across to the right bottom corner of the goal with 6:45 left to play to reflect the final tally.

East Ascension will enter the Division I playoffs as the district runner-up.

“I fell comfortable where we stand and with how we are playing right now,” Van Moer said. “I think the team is peaking at the right time. We have been making very few mistakes in the past couple of games and we are finishing offensively. It is a new season and you have to take the playoffs one game at a time. You never know. Anything can happen.”

St. Amant will advance to the postseason after an absence as the district’s third-place team.

“We are in,” Garcia said. “We just have to wait and see where we will be seeded now and who we will get. That is our main goal but we would have liked to beat our rival and had a better showing tonight.”

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East Ascension’s Justin Cornes defends St.?Amant’s Jaxon Lambert in the first half of the Spartans’ 4-1 District 6-I victory Thursday night at Spartan Stadium.