Lady Spartans eliminated by St. Joseph’s

Peter Silas Pasqua
East Ascension’s Ashleigh Muscarello defends St. Joseph’s Leah Aultman in the second half of the Lady Redsticker’s 2-0 Division I bi-district playoff victory Friday night at Spartan Stadium.

St. Joseph’s added a second goal in the second half to built a slight cushion over East Ascension on way to a 2-0 Division I bi-district playoff victory Friday night at Spartan Stadium.

No. 16 seed East Ascension ends the season with a 15-9-1 overall record. 17th-seeded St. Joseph’s (16-13) moves on to host top seed Fontainebleau in the regionals.

Erica Allen converted off a rebound  from Caroline Focht’s miss with just four minutes remaining in the first half to crack the scoreboard and Leah Aultman added another goal off a free kick with 28 minutes remaining.

“It is a game of inches and it was just unfortunate,” East Ascension head coach Christopher Goodall said. “The first goal was a very heads up play following a save off the top of the bar which they were able to follow up. We didn’t want to give away the free kick in the second half. We knew they would be very strong from set plays and we thought that might be their chance to score and it was. I think we showed it was as close as it gets.

“We had a real good season making the playoffs in this tough district. Leah is a very special player and we knew she would be good for one goal. We just gave an all out effort. St. Joe’s didn’t tire in the second half and are a very fit team. We just felt with seven or eight minutes to go, if we could have snuck one it would have been crazy playing with one or two defenders.”

East Ascension played the role of aggressor early on getting their best chance in the 17th minute when Haley Gautreau sent a pass through the left side of the penalty box, where Jordan Guedry ran it down before goalkeeper Meaghan Flechas made a diving stop.

“We kind of stacked the defense and played with four defenders and five midfielders a lot of the game to clog up the center because that was the best part of the field to play on and gave them the outside where it was so muddy and you couldn’t use a whole lot of skill,” St. Joseph’s head coach Craig Winchell said. “Field conditions played a lot into the game and there wasn’t much dribbling. We talked about shooting from far out and hoping for a chip or miss play by the keeper because the ball was so slippery.”

East Ascension goalkeeper Chelsea Griggs tipped both goals. The first hit the crossbar before bouncing back into play for Allen to finish.

Aultman’s goal came from near the top left corner of the penalty box and was on target. Griggs bobbled the ball for an instant before it trickled in for  a goal.

The Lady Spartans got a free kick from the top of the penalty box in the 73rd minute, but Kristin Simoneaux’s kick sailed over the goal. Two minutes later, East Ascension generated a corner kick resulting in two kicks and a header, but to no avail.

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East Ascension's Marissa Sanchez attempts to drive past St. Joseph's Caroline Focht.