SOCCER

Parish soccer teams bracing for the start of 2017

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Dutchtown will return all-district junior Michael Greer (No. 8). Photo by Tammy Gaudin.

With the coming of the new soccer season, there are plenty of teams in Ascension Parish that are heading into 2017 with high expectations and hopes of competing for district and state championships.

For the boys, St. Amant is coming off of a tremendous season that saw them go 17-2-4, win back-to-back district titles for the first time in school history and reach the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2011.

But the Gators will have to overcome a huge hurdle. For the first time in four years, they’ll head into a season without Briggs Bourgeois.

Bourgeois was one of the most decorated players in the program’s history. He was named district MVP four years in a row, and last season, he was also named the state’s Offensive MVP.

Along with Bourgeois, St. Amant will be without all-district players in Connor Poche and Dayton Guedry.

Fortunately for the Gators, they will return a senior in Hector Rodriguez that has won the district’s Defensive MVP award two years in a row.

Along with Rodriguez, all-district stars Caleb Cretini, Brendan David and Matt Parker return.

Dutchtown finished as runners-up in the district last season and reached the second round of the playoffs.

Like St. Amant, they lost a heavy-hitter in Alex Sheets. Sheets was the district Offensive MVP last season.

Along with him, the Griffins will lose Nick Frederic and Andrew Watts.

Though, they return all-district performers in Sethan Ward, Michael Greer, Zayne Zezulka, Cole Hattier and goalkeeper Christian Carrillo.

East Ascension also reached the second round of the playoffs last season, and like Dutchtown, they parted ways with a district Offensive MVP in Edgar Moyron.

The Spartans also lost Dylan Vidrine, but they will return an array of talented guys in Luis Guadiana, Brandon Shanklin and EJ Morales.

Ascension Christian is an extremely young program. They’ve only played varsity soccer for three years, but they continue to make strides.

Last season, the Lions won their first ever district title, and luckily for them, they return most of their starters from that team.

They do lose district MVP and Louisiana College signee Ian Carter, along with Evan Thompson and Judah Gaudin.

But Ascension Christian will return the district’s Offensive MVP, Logan St. Pierre and the Defensive MVP, Brennan Tramonte, along with all-district player Bohdi Linton.

The Lions will return starter Chloe Cashat—who is the only girl playing on a boy’s team in Baton Rouge metro soccer. She is one of only two female players on a boy’s team in the whole state.

As a team captain this year, she will become the first female to ever earn that distinction on a boy’s team in LHSAA soccer history.

Head coach Ray Linton also believes Victor Garcia could do big things as a first-year starter.

Linton said that his midfield and attacking players will be their greatest strength. They have three seniors and two All-State freshmen in that aspect.

He said that they have “12 sophomores on this year’s roster of 20 players, with five of them projected as starters, so the future is bright.”

For the girls, St. Amant looks to be the favorite in the parish once again.

Last season, the Lady Gators won their first district title in 12 years and reached the second round of the playoffs.

From that team, they return the reigning district MVP, Adelaide Gaffney (33 goals) and the reigning district Offensive MVP in Mya Guillory (28 goals).

They also bring back all-district players in Claire Sheets, Maya Lastrapes, Sarah Cretini and Blythe Babin.

Head coach Joleigh Hartman said, “I’m very excited about this year. I don’t believe this program has seen this kind of talent in a while, and I can’t wait to see what this team has in store for this season.”

The runner-up in the district last season was Dutchtown. The Lady Griffins won 17 games and reached the second round of the playoffs.

They’ll be without their best player from last year in all-district star and Mississippi College signee Bailey Cyprowski.

They’ll be depending on two returning all-district players in Riley Ely and Bailey Fournet.

East Ascension will be an interesting team to watch. They’ll have a new coach for the first time in over a decade.

After 15 years, Chris Goodall decided to step down, giving way to Jennifer Franklin. Franklin was recently the head coach at St. Michael, where she bolstered a 32-19-9 record in four seasons.

She’ll have a talented team to work with in 2017.

A young East Ascension squad fought through growing pains in 2016, but they still found a way to reach the second round of the playoffs.

They only lost one all-district player from that squad in Valeria Gonzalez.

The Spartans will return a first-team all-district goalkeeper in Maggie Britton (11 shutouts), along with four other all-district performers in Michaela and Melissa Speligene, Maylen Mire and Hannah Bernard.