(COVINGTON, La.) — St. Paul’s scored four unanswered second-half goals to propel past Catholic High and emerged undefeated last Wednesday. After a deadlocked first half, senior James Bradford and senior Ben Schwing led the wolves to a 4-0 rout of No. 4 Catholic at Hunter Stadium.
In the first 40 minutes, Catholic High’s energetic and physical approach neutralized the Wolves’ attacking efforts and forced St. Paul’s into another slow start against a top opponent. Catholic came out with a clear game plan: to remain compact and create constant pressure. St. Paul’s struggled to generate any offensive rhythm, but managed to hold the Bears to a meek two attempts on goal. “Players weren’t defending as a team. Instead, we were defending as individuals, which made everyone have to work harder. They were stepping to us pretty intensely, and we didn’t recognize it and adjust,” said senior center back Lucas Isolani.
St. Paul’s managed to gain control over the game in the second half with two key substitutions. Coach Sean Moser started the half with junior Caleb Nicotri and junior Ashton Mouton. The two injected pace and physicality to allow the Wolves to assert their dominance.
The deadlock was broken in the 51st minute when Ben Schwing chased down a loose ball in Catholic High’s 18-yard box. Senior Michael Dufour won a difficult header that assisted Schwing’s volley to make the game 1-0. Bradford made the game 2-0 after latching on to a brilliantly timed through ball from senior Daniel Nuñez. Bradford, without an angle to shoot, snuck the ball past the keeper’s near post. St. Paul’s #7 embarrassed the keeper with his first goal, but it was his second finish through the keeper’s legs that led to the opposition goalie being subbed off. Dufour completed the 4-0 scoreline with a header from a brilliant set piece from Schwing.
After the first goal, Catholic High’s body language immediately dropped and the Bear’s couldn’t create a goal scoring chance in the second half. “We just came out in the second half and played better. Our press was better, our first touch was better, and we were able to finish our chances,” said Bradford. The state champions made up for a weak first half with a flawless performance in the second.
St. Paul’s soccer action continues with Lafayette High School on Dec. 10 in Hunter Stadium. Over the weekend, St. Paul’s reached the finals of the COPA Tournament in Lafayette. The finals match of the COPA Tournament is postponed till Dec. 28, and it will be played at Hunter Stadium against arch rival Jesuit.