Lady Gators survive EA to remain undefeated in district

Kyle Riviere
Madison Morgan (left) and St. Amant defeated Hannah Bernard (right) and East Ascension, 1-0, on Friday night. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

Throughout their Friday road matchup against East Ascension, St. Amant had a bevy of point-blank shots right in front of the goal, but they could never get them past Maggie Britton.

It was the toughest shot the Lady Gators took all night that somehow found a way to get past the all-district goalkeeper.

Adelaide Gaffney's goal at the ninth minute gave St. Amant a 1-0 lead, and they never relinquished it. Though, they had to endure quite a few close calls at the end of the game.

East Ascension came mere inches away from tying the contest multiple times in the waning moments.

"Any time you have EA vs. St. Amant in any sport--even Beta competition--it's gonna come down to the wire," Lady Gator head coach Joleigh Hartman said. "That was something that was discussed this week was that this was a big rivalry. It doesn't matter what rank you are when it comes down to this game. It's all about who's gonna want it more."

The first half was completely dominated by St. Amant.

Nine minutes into the game, Gaffney gave the Lady Gators the 1-0 lead as she sent a beautiful shot just past the outstretched arms of Britton from 20 yards out.

With the lead, St. Amant continued to stay aggressive. They spent almost the entire first half in East Ascension territory as they continually peppered shots the way of Britton.

Their best chance to get a second goal came at the 28th minute when Gaffney's shot hit the sidebar. Off of the deflection, Mya Guillory tried to sneak it past Britton, but Britton was right there to make the stop.

At the break, the Lady Gators held a dominating 16-0 edge in shots. Still, they were only ahead by the 1-0 margin.

In the second half, East Ascension was finally able to mount some offense. For the first time in the game, they made Lady Gator goalkeeper Karlie Delhommer break a sweat.

In the first 11 minutes of the second half, Mariah Welch got off two open shots at the St. Amant goal. One was stopped by Delhommer, while the other was too high.

On the other end, St. Amant continued to get off great shots, and Britton continued to deny them points.

On two separate occasions, Gaffney set up right in front of the goal, but each time, Britton made beautiful saves.

However, the East Ascension offense couldn't take advantage.

At the 65th minute, Elizabeth Austin's shot hit the sidebar.

Their final chance came with just two minutes remaining. This time, Chloe Shanklin had a great opportunity, but her shot clanked against the sidebar as well.

St. Amant was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief and close out the 1-0 district victory.

The Lady Gators came up with 26 shots for the game. Of those 26 shots, Britton made a superb 15 saves.

"I feel like this EA team with Maggie at goalkeeper is so good defensively, and they were amazing. I'm so proud of my St. Amant girls for sticking in at the end and coming out with the 1-0 win," Hartman said.

Conversely, East Ascension was only able to get off five shots.

The victory was the fifth in six games for St. Amant. It improved their overall record to 10-2-2.

"This team has had great morale," Hartman said. "At the start of the season, they set a team goal, and that's something that we haven't done in past years. Their goal is to make it to the last week of February. That's the state championship. I believe us having a dream and us having to work for something has kept this winning streak going for us."