(LAFAYETTE, La.) — On February 23, 2019, the St. Paul’s Soccer Team traveled to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for their 9th consecutive State Championship appearance. This year’s game was a rematch against the #2 ranked Jesuit Blue Jays. Last year, the Wolves lost that game in overtime, the final score totaling 2-1 in favor of Jesuit. This year, the Wolves scored three goals off the feet and head of junior Michael Dufour.
This year’s match-up was poised to be another thriller, but that was not to be. Only 53 seconds into the game, Dufour scored his first goal of the match on a header off the foot of senior Conner Walmsley.
“[The goal] changed the whole game for us. We get the early goal and it starts everything off. We’re one ahead and we aren’t playing with that chip on our shoulder anymore,” Dufour said after the big win.
After the early goal, the game remained neck and neck all the way to the end of the first half. The game got a little chippy towards the end of the first half, with Walmsley going down with an ankle injury closer to the 2nd half. He did not return to the game.
With the game sitting at 1-0 coming out of halftime, the Wolves needed another goal to create some separation between them and the resilient Blue Jays. Lucky for the Wolves, Dufour was on point on Saturday, as he scored another header, this one coming off the foot of junior Jimmy Till.
“To me, the 2nd goal was the most important goal. We didn’t have to worry about ‘one goal and they’re back’ like last year,” Dufour continued.
Shortly after the 2nd goal of the match for Dufour, a penalty kick was called for the Wolves by the head referee. Dufour was chosen to take the shot. The shot went in, giving Dufour a hat trick and the Wolves a 3-0 lead.
After that final goal, the Wolves coasted to their 6th State Title in nine trips.
“It feels great, especially with this group because they were on the bench last year watching eight seniors I started lose. I only had four returners, and Walmsley, my best player on the field, gets injured in the first half,” St. Paul’s Head Coach Sean Moser said after the win.
“We just platooned, platooned, and platooned and eventually were able wore them down,” He continued.
Dufour, the MVP of this year’s championship, hadn’t played at all until this year, when he captured the rights to become the team’s Junior Captain.