Lady Gators hope to continue postseason streak in 09-10
ST. AMANT – St. Amant has advanced to the postseason 11 straight years and despite the loss of nearly all of the Lady Gators’ offensive firepower from last season, there is no reason to believe they can’t make it a dozen.
The Lady Gators finished in a tie with East Ascension for second place in District 6-I standings last season with a 7-3 record and were 10-12-1 overall after a 3-0 loss to Byrd in the first round of the Division I playoffs.
“We lost five seniors that are hard to replace,” St. Amant head coach Jason Naquin said. “We feel like we are prepared for it with a lot younger players coming up. We have a large crew. It is not a rebuilding year but we are definitely on the younger side. The incoming freshmen have played a lot of club ball and are pressing older players.”
St. Amant’s losses include district co-Offensive MVP Joleigh Hartman along with first-team selections Lexi Crews, Dana Songe and second-team pick Erica Arnold.
The Lady Gators do return second-team selections Samantha Jackson, Amanda Jackson, Nicholi Rowell and Danielle Barton.
“We are very pleased with where we have come so far and how hard we have worked. We have pretty good punch up front and those are going to surprise some people.”
Amanda Jackson will be joined by Sarah Parker and Destiny Bourgeois up front. Tana Bourgeois, Elaina Vercher and Brittnee Lambert also look to fit into the mix, while Samantha Jackson returns at goalkeeper.
“We don’t have any stars,” Naquin said. “Our goalkeeper is probably the closest and everybody else is in development but we are solid all the way around and we have a good bit of depth. We have so many potential varsity players that can provide support. I think our strengths lie there and I believe we will make it difficult to score on.?The breakaways are there but we can’t put the ball away, yet.”
St. Amant opened the season at state runner-up Fontainebleau before they host the Black and Goal Tournament and face the likes of Woodlawn, Zachary, Baton Rouge and West Monroe.
“We are playing a moderate schedule because of the new ranking system and I didn’t want to get smothered with all the youth coming in,” Naquin said. “They need a chance to breath and develop. We have a couple of hard games but there is a nice balance. District is going to be very difficult because it is clear this is going to be a very good year for Dutchtown. Our theory is to take it one game at a time. We are always trying to find that edge.”
“I look for us us to make the playoffs again and keep that tradition going. We have to possess the ball and we have to play hard and fast. We can’t make silly mistakes. We have helped teams by shooting ourselves in the foot and giving them easy opportunities. I hope by the time district comes around we have come together cohesively as a unit, playing smarter and owning the ball a lot more.”