February Feast: An In-Depth View of the State Champion Soccer Wolves

(NEW ORLEANS) — The St. Paul’s Soccer Wolves (31-0-3) ended their season in dominating fashion on Feb. 28, defeating the Jesuit Blue Jays (20-5-4) with a score of 3-0 to claim the LHSAA Division I State Championship. Goals were scored by Eric Guin (1) and Barrick Roberts (2), the latter of which was named State Championship MVP.

Senior Forward Barrick Roberts celebrates with his State Championship MVP Award.

Senior Forward Barrick Roberts celebrates with his State Championship MVP Award.

“It was crazy,” Roberts, a senior forward, said of being named the MVP. “I didn’t even think I was going to get it. I thought Guin was going to get it after his goal. However, it’s definitely a great feeling. It was the biggest game of my life and they gave me the MVP; what better (feeling) can there be?”

Sean Moser, the Head Coach of the SPS soccer team, joked that he knew he would win the Wednesday before the game.

“We had a really good week of preparation,” Moser said. “We had been playing well up to that point. The defense had been locking it down. We averaged four goals per playoff game. One would think that, as you went further in the playoffs, with better competition, usually you don’t score as much, but that wasn’t the case. The offense was playing really well, too; we were getting production from all over the place. If you tried to double-team Barrick Roberts, Eric Guin, or Davis Neitzschmann, then (Michael) Boudreaux was scoring, Brett Feringa was scoring, Byron Morgan was scoring. Subs were coming in; (Austin) Groeneveld was coming in and scoring.”

Senior player Aarron Hodgeman summarized his emotions during the game.

“Saturday night, we went out, and we didn’t even think about having an undefeated season. We really didn’t think about anything else besides beating Jesuit because we lost to them freshman and sophomore year,” Hodgeman said. “We won it all last year, but to get revenge was even better. Also, having back-to-back state titles is important. I think it was also good to be able to show the underclassmen what you’re supposed to be able to do and how to put in the work to win another one.”

In a game filled with highlights, Guin’s goal seems to be the consensus defining moment.

“The goal was awesome,” Senior soccer enthusiast Reid Perrin said. “When he hit that, the student section went nuts, I’ll never forget that.”

Moser knew the game was theirs after that goal.

“For the first ten minutes of the second half we were all over them, and they scrambled to clear the ball. It came right to Eric and he ripped the shot, (making the score 2-0),” Moser said. “We haven’t given up two goals in a game in two or three years so, I figured, even if they got one back, we were fine. I knew we would win after that with about 25 minutes to go.”

Roberts thought there were two specific highlights, the first of which was Guin’s goal, with the volley.

Senior Goalkeeper Colin Hanley leaps to make a save against a Jesuit attacker.

Senior Goalkeeper Colin Hanley leaps to make a save against a Jesuit attacker.

“Once he scored that, it was like Jesuit’s whole mantra dropped, and it seemed like they gave up playing,” Roberts said. “They started making a lot more mistakes after that. Colin Hanley also had a save on their No. 7, who had a shot in the box. We were still up 2-0, and blocking that was definitely a defining moment.”

Hodgeman’s favorite moment came after the game.

“The defining moment, for me, came after the game, (sharing the state championship victory) with an enormous student section,” Hodgeman said. “It reminded me that part of the reason we do so well is because our fan base is absolutely huge. Without the support of our fans, parents, and everyone else, I don’t think we could be where we are.”

The student section, raucous yet without malice, had various chants throughout the game.

“My favorite chant of the game was ‘Why so quiet?’ right at Jesuit’s student section,” Perrin said. “(They were quiet) because they were shocked at how good our team was. They didn’t have anything else to say.”

Moser, finishing his sixth season as Head Coach, has only missed the state championship once, his rookie year where the Wolves lost in the quarterfinals to Lafayette High.

“This is the best team (I’ve coached) from top to bottom,” Moser said. “My 2011 team (which featured Gatorade High School Mens’ Soccer Player of the Year Adrian McGinnis) may have been a little bit faster, but they couldn’t have hung with this team late into the first half and for most of the second half because they weren’t as deep. By halftime I think I had subbed four or five people and kept the level of play pretty high.”

Several people stepped up this year for the Wolves.

“As a whole, I thought Byron (Morgan) and Davis (Neitzschmann) stepped up to the plate as our captains,” senior Andrew Brouilliette said, “as well as Eric (Guin) and Colin (Hanley). Our captains really brought our team together as a whole. During the game, I thought Barrick (Roberts) and Eric definitely deserved their goals. Barrick was definitely the MVP; he had a phenomenal game.”

A pair of seniors surprised Moser.

Senior David Durand evades a Jesuit player.

Senior David Durand evades a Jesuit player.

“Interestingly enough, throughout the season, the two people that surprised me the most, with how they started the season than becoming eventual starters, were Andrew Brouilliette and David Durand,” Moser said. “And then they both get injured, finishing the season coming off the bench. They barely played with their knee (Brouilliette) and foot (Durand – stress fracture) injuries. In my mind, the starting eleven for the state championship was minus two starters. We overcame those significant injuries and were still able to play well.”

Brouilliette described his injury.

Senior Andrew Brouilliette celebrates victory over the Jesuit Blue Jays.

Senior Andrew Brouilliette celebrates victory over the Jesuit Blue Jays.

“I tore my medial meniscus and my ACL in my right knee,” Brouilliette said. “During the Northlake game in the regular season, I went to turn on a player and cross the ball in, and a defender came in and hit my knee and it twisted it, (tearing) my ACL.”

Due to his physical therapy, he didn’t need surgery and was able to play in the State Champonship game, with an assist.

While the team is losing twelve seniors, the future looks bright for the program.

“Next year’s team will have to really work hard to live up to the expectations from this year, being the top team in the country,” Brouilliette said. “But, I definitely think they have a good chance of going back (to the State Championship) next year.”

Hodgeman echoed that sentiment.

“I think we gave them enough experience,” Hodgeman said. “We have (Colin) Ross in the back. We also have Michael Longo, who has been on the team for two years now. We have Michael Boudreaux. We have a whole bunch of kids that have been playing with us for a while now, so I think they have a solid chance. They just need to keep up the work rate.”

Moser agreed that next year’s team will be strong.

“On the bus ride home, the assistant coach and I were talking about who we would put where if we had to play right now, and they were very similar,” Moser said. “It’s a very, very good team. We’ll have six or seven seniors and two or three juniors, all of which are very talented and got a significant amount of training with this year’s seniors. I’m pleased and excited.”

Moser summed up the entire season in two words: “Go Wolves.”

•  •  •

All photos by The Times-Picayune. Read their article and see more photos here.

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