On Feb. 14, the St. Paul’s Soccer Team defeated the Catholic High Bears 5-1 in the LHSAA Class 5A State Championship, thus winning the Division I state title for a fourth consecutive year. This victory was Head Coach Sean Moser’s fifth championship at SPS, and the school’s eighth championship in total.
“I was extremely proud of our team,” Head Coach Sean Moser said. “I was especially proud of the fact that we were able to pull ahead with a 3-1 lead so that I could put all of the seniors in together for their final game, along with some freshmen who were first experiencing a championship game.”
Junior Justin Savoie put up the first goal minutes in, but Catholic’s Preston Stafford hit a long-distance shot to level the match at 1-1. Savoie put in yet another goal four minutes before halftime, and senior Adam Schellang put in another goal two minutes later to put the Wolves ahead 3-1 at the half. Senior Reiss Thieler put up the Wolves’ fourth goal eight minutes into the second half, and Savoie finished his hat trick with one final goal with seven minutes left in the game. Savoie’s hat trick against the Bears secured his Most Outstanding Player Award performance.
“We felt confident going into the game, we’ve obviously been in that situation before,” Savoie said. “We put in extra work preparing, and we were able to get the win.”
The Wolves scored the most goals of any Division I champion in a final since Slidell scored seven in its 1988 championship, according to The Advocate.
The Wolves are certainly used to bringing home the hardware from Tad Gormley Stadium, but this year’s road to glory took a slightly different path. The Wolves fell short of a district title this season, most directly caused by a 1-0 loss to rival Mandeville High School. The 2016-2017 season was the first time the Moser has not won district in his 10 years at SPS.
“I like to make a list of team goals before every season,” Moser said. “Every year I make about eight or nine goals, and quite often, we get very close to achieving all of those goals. This year, we only achieved two of the goals. If we would have lost in the championship, the season wouldn’t have been a failure, but it just would be another goal that we just barely missed.”
Moser’s dynasty has had such an impact on the SPS soccer fanbase, that some fans are asking for changing the name of Hunter Stadium to Moser Field at Hunter Stadium.
“I don’t really have an opinion on that,” Moser said. “Coaches like Gene Bennett have rightfully earned their recognition over years of success. When my time here is done, who knows what the school will remember me for?”