St. Amant downs Dutchtown in district clash

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

It seems like every year St. Amant and Dutchtown go down to the wire to find out which team is the best in the district, and there was no exception at The Pit on Wednesday night.

Playing in a crucial league matchup, the Lady Gators fell behind 2-1 right before halftime, but in the second half, they exploded for three straight goals in the span of 12 minutes.

With the two-goal advantage, they were able to hold off the Lady Griffins and pick up a hard-fought 4-3 victory.

"My girls are fighters, and they knew that we were here at home, and we were not losing," St. Amant head coach Joleigh Hartman said. "Our motto at halftime was: everything you've got. Give credit to Dutchtown. Every single year it seems to come down to us two winning district. The girls just wanted it, and you saw that in the second half. It's an amazing feeling to beat Dutchtown here at The Pit. It signifies our leadership out there."

St. Amant struck first with a goal at the 11th minute, but Dutchtown was able to respond just three minutes later.

Baylie Fournet launched a beautiful corner kick that Alyssa Abbott finished with a header for the tying score.

The game remained deadlocked until the 32nd minute. That's when Dutchtown's Delaney Zybko raced out in front of St. Amant defenders and scored easily to give the Lady Griffins a 2-1 lead at the break.

Dutchtown had a chance to extend the lead to begin the second half as Zybko got a shot off from inside the box, but it went wide left.

St. Amant didn't miss their opportunities.

At the 54th minute, Ashley Ecker set up freshman Nya Bridgewater beautifully right in front of the goal. There was a collision as the goalkeeper charged forward to stop her.

Both players went down, but St. Amant was awarded the goal to tie the game.

"Nya Bridgewater was phenomenal for us in the second half," Hartman said. "She got the second goal for us. I like how she came out there. I think she came out excited, and that really pumped up our older girls and showed that this freshman is here to play and she wants it just as much as them. It's just phenomenal for a freshman to come out here and do this for us this year."

At the 59th minute, the Lady Gators regained the lead with a goal by Camile Sheets. Seven minutes later, they extended the advantage to 4-2 when Rachel Cretini scored on a beautiful penalty kick from five yards outside of the box.

 Dutchtown wouldn't go away.

At the 67th minute, Zybko scored her second goal of the game to cut the deficit in half.

And in the final minute, the Lady Griffins had two shots on goal from inside the box, but Spencer Kernan made two terrific saves.

The win was the Lady Gators' fourth straight, and it put them at the top of the district at 2-0.

"We've had heart," Hartman said. "At the beginning of the year, we sat down as a team and we wrote down what our personal and team goals were, and every single one of them had the team goal of winning district and making it back to the semifinals. Most of our starters played in the semifinal game three years ago.

"They realize what we have, and they realize what they mean to one another, and they've formed a family bond. You could see tonight that they played for one another. They're ready. They want to win district again, and they want to go far in the playoffs. I think we're about to excite some people with what's gong to happen in these next few weeks."