Girl’s soccer teams have eyes set on district title

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
East Ascension returns goalkeeper Hannah May, last year’s District 4 Co-Defensive MVP.

With the start of the new soccer season comes district championship aspirations for the three parish girl’s soccer teams in District 4.

The favorite has to be Dutchtown. Not only did the Lady Griffins capture the district title just last season, but they will return the most starters in the parish with nine.

Dutchtown made a tremendous run in 2020-21. In addition to winning the league championship, the Lady Griffins went 16-4-1 and reached the second round of the playoffs.

Dutchtown will have a new coach this season in Jared Moss. Moss takes over for Anant Vyas, who was the Lady Griffins’ coach for the past 19 years.

Moss will have plenty of weapons at his disposal.

Leading the charge will be sophomore Riley Hicock. Hicock was the district’s Offensive MVP last season. She was also an All-Metro and All-State selection. She was the first Dutchtown freshman to ever make all district, All Metro and All State in the same season.

Moss also expressed excitement about the return of seniors Colette Smith, Maya Tilley, Emma Lambert, Jaida Johnson, Riley Cangelosi and Rylie Gueho, along with juniors Arleigh Hines, Lillian Moss and Tristen Gulczynski.

Dutchtown lost all-district goalkeeper Alexi Odland, but Moss expects Vivian Moody to step in and play well.

The St. Amant Lady Gators finished as the district runners-up a year ago. They’re hoping to finish in the top spot this time around.

St. Amant will return five starters from last season. Fortunately for the Lady Gators, two of the players they bring back were first-team all-district performers.

“Our offense will be our strongest this year with the return of our leading goal scorers, Nya Bridgewater and Sadie Bourgeois,” St. Amant head coach Joleigh Hartman said.

Although, it will be hard to replace players like Rachel Cretini and Camille Sheets. Cretini was the district’s Overall MVP last season, and Sheets was the Co-Defensive MVP.

Luckily for St. Amant, they’ll be strong at the net with the return of goalkeepers Caylee Sheets and Spencer Kernan.

Other players she’s expecting big things from are senior Brynn Weathers, junior Madison Parker and three talented youngsters in Lillian Sutton, Kendal Waguespack and Mallory Sutton.

“Don’t count the Gators out this year. We will be rebuilding our defense, but these young Gators are hungry and ready to make a mark,” Hartman said.

Last year’s St. Amant squad went 13-5-1 during the regular season and reached the second round of the playoffs.

East Ascension didn’t make the playoffs last season. In fact, the Lady Spartans have missed out on the postseason two years in a row.

But head coach Jennifer Kennedy wants to change that this season. The Lady Spartans are hoping that the return of seven starters will allow them to compete for the District 4 championship in 2021-22.

East Ascension will return the most-decorated goalkeeper in the parish in Hannah May. The junior was named the district’s Co-Defensive MVP and All-Metro Defensive MVP last season.

Unfortunately, one player the Lady Spartans will not have this season will be Abbie Delaune. Coach Kennedy said that not having her is a “huge loss.”

“She was mainly a center midfielder, but she could play anywhere we needed. She was a fantastic leader, especially by example,” Kennedy said.

But Kennedy said that she still foresees big things from defender/midfielders Sheyla and Nyla Sanchez.

Also, East Ascension returns two all-district players in Paige Pranskey and Ava Lambert.

Of Lambert, Kennedy said, “She’s a vocal leader who is a solid, consistent player for us.”

Kennedy said she is happy with the team’s depth this season.

“We are very young and have the biggest roster we have had since I’ve been here,” Kennedy said. “We have a structure in place that will hopefully push each player to be the best version of themselves. Because there are so many players, there is definitely a competitive spirit on this team. They push each other to play at their highest levels.”