Spartans push past Carencro to advance

Peter Silas Pasqua
East Ascension’s Justin Guillory attempts to head away a pass to Carencro’s Brandon Hiem in the second half of the Spartans’ 2-1 Division I bi-district playoff victory Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium.

No. 9 seed East Ascension was forced to score late after Carencro knotted it up in the second half but ultimately prevailed for a 2-1 Division I bi-district playoff victory Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium.

The Spartans (14-5-3) advance to face No. 8 seed Fontainebleau in the regionals. 24th seeded Carencro ends the season with a 7-10-2 record.

Brandon?Ruiz converted a header in front of the goal off a cross from Jared Hill with less than 20 minutes remaining to push East Ascension over the top.

“Whenever, you get into the playoffs, there are no easy games,” East Ascension head coach Bruno Van Moer said. “It is going to be a battle no matter what. They definitely came ready to play but I thought my guys responded well and didn’t put their head down. They just went back at it and kept fighting. We may not have any stars like we have had in the past but I really think they play well as a unit. I feel confident because they are very resilient and have been showing it all year long. It really is a good group to coach and to be around.

“Since Christmas, I have had those two guys (Ruiz and Hill) up top. They are big, physical and strong and both of them can finish. In almost every game, one of them is going to score. It is almost a guarantee for us. Early on, we had a lot of opportunities and just didn’t put them on frame. For whatever reason, we decided to blast the goal instead of just placing it. Carencro is a good team and I think they are better than their seed.”

East Ascension went ahead 1-0 just two minutes into the contest when Justin Cornes fed Hill for a goal. The score held through halftime.

Brandon Hiem converted off a rebound with 27 minutes remaining in the second half to knotted it up. Garrett Lavergne send the ball to the front of the goal, where Jade Tomeny saved Donald Thomas shot attempt which ricocheted back to Hiem, who finished.

“It picked us back up and gave us some momentum,” Carencro head coach Kent Talley said. “Unfortunately, they did a better job of finding the weak side and tucking another away. I thought we really played well defensively. We are running quite a few young guys and I think we did well considering the teams that they have played and beat.

“Obviously, EA is a good team and have played some good competition. They have a lot of height but I thought overall we played a good game and I am proud of them because they gave everything that they had.”

Carencro took the first four shots of the second half with Tomeny stopping free kicks by Timothy Treuil and Hiem.

Bears’ goalkeeper Luke Reaux then controlled Hill’s header from Jack Cockrum before stopping Rosdel Solis cross as the Spartans took the next four shots. Reaux deflected Carlos Hermosillo’s attempt and Corkrum’s header off Solis’ corner kick.

Justin Guillory’s free kick was punched out by Reaux after the Bears knotted it up. Consecutive corner kicks by Treuil were also kicked out before East Ascension took the lead.

Hermosillo’s attempt went high after Reaux tapped out Hill’s attempt from Cornes. Hill then had a one on one attempt off a pass from?Fernando Castellanos that Reaux corralled.

With under two minutes to play, Kade Lavergne was just high on Carencro’s last attempt before Ruiz’s free kick was wide left.

A shoving match ensued just before the final whistle and Hiem was shown a red card while East Ascension’s Kevin McDaniel was given a yellow card.

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East Ascension’s Kevin McDaniel defends Carencro’s Seth Mech in the second half of the Spartans’ 2-1 Division I bi-district playoff victory Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium.