Comets wrap up memorable soccer season

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 6, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / March 6, 1999

LAPLACE – When St. Charles Catholic soccer coach Andy Roussel looksback at the 1998-99 season, he sees one in which his team got better and closer together as the season wore on.

“It was fun,” Roussel said. “It was a learning experience for everybodyinvolved. I believe we learn that you have to trust in other people and thatyou can’t do it all by yourself all the time. We had a great time.”I thought overall the team got better as the season went along. The teamcarried each other and we got used to where everybody was on the field.”The Comets finished the season with an 8-8-1 record. The year includedthe team’s first ever playoff win at Westminster and ended with a 6-3 loss to Country Day in the Division II regional playoffs.

The season started with a 2-1 loss at Destrehan. The Comets came back todefeat Lutheran, 4-2, at home but lost to Fontainebleau, 5-0. St. CharlesCatholic coach Norman Brignac said Fontainebleau, a Division I school, was part of the team’s plan to mix up its early schedule.

“We wanted to play a tough schedule,” Brignac said. “It was a good testfor us.”The tough scheduled continued with a loss at St. Thomas Aquinas. A 4-3loss at Lutheran followed before the Comets bounced back to open District 8-III play with a 5-4 win at home against Ridgewood. The Comets trailed3-1 at halftime but came back to score three goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Allan Doubleday had three goals in the win.Then came one of the highlights of the season for the Comets. Playing forthe second straight day, the Comets had enough in them to upset Pope John Paul II, a semifinalist the previous season, 3-1 at home.

“Right off the kickoff, we were all over the place,” Roussel said.

The Comets moved into the state rankings at No. 10 after that victory. Butplaying in inclement weather at E.D. White, the Comets came back down toearth, falling 4-2. A 1-all tie at home against Country Day followed.St. Charles Catholic got back in the win column with a 4-0 win at EcoleClassique. The Comets led only 1-0 at the half but scored three second-half goals. Clint Scroggs scored his first career goal in the game.With the majority of the team battling the flu, the Comets lost at Ridgewood, 3-1, in overtime. St. Charles Catholic followed with anotherovertime loss at Metairie before jumping out to a 4-0 on its way to a 4-1 victory over Ecole Classique. Christian Panquerne scored twice as theComets qualified for the playoffs for the third time in four years.

The Comets jumped out to a 2-0 lead at halftime at Westminster in the bi-district playoffs but Brignac reminded them that they had led at halftime the previous year before losing at St. Thomas Aquinas. But thistime, the Comets capitalized on a small field with their speed, shutting down Westminster in the second half.

The win was another memorable moment for the seniors. As freshmen,they had been a part of the first St. Charles Catholic team to make theplayoffs.

The win set up the first home playoff game in school history against Country Day. But the Cajuns’ crisp passing was too much for the Comets asCountry Day came away with the 6-3 win.

Despite the loss, Brignac said the team had accomplished a lot during the season.

“I am probably prouder of them than any other team,” Brignac, who has been with the soccer program eight years, said. “They got closer togetherand more confident as the season went along.”Jason Brignac, one of the team’s eight seniors, agreed.

“I think this season went really well,” Brignac said. “We had many peoplestep up this year.”Brignac said he will best remember the playoff win.

“It was great,” Brignac said. “I had tears in my eyes. Just to accomplishsomething that nobody who had played the sport here had accomplished. Itfell so much better that instead of just going, we had won a playoff game.”Doubleday, a junior who was the team’s leading scorer with 22 goals, said he dedicated the season to the seniors.

“I have been playing with a lot of these guys for so long,” Doubleday said.

“I wanted to give them something to remember for a long time. I dedicatedthe whole season to these guys. They have been with me througheverything.”Roussel added that the team also made history in that Jenny Billot became the first female soccer player to receive a letter at St. Charles Catholic.He said next year will be a rebuilding year after the team loses Brignac, Panquerne, Casey White, Scroggs, Josh Schexnayder, Ryan Sterling, Vic Wall and Dustin Falterman.

Panquerne said he hopes that upcoming teams can continue on the success that the program has had in recent years.

“I can honestly say that this was one of my most memorable seasons,” Panquerne said.

“I am really proud that I was on this team. I am really happy for theyounger players coming up. This is something for them to strive for,something for them to look up to.”

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