Playing through the pain

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 10, 2004

By GEORGE MAHL – Sports Editor

RESERVE – So maybe they struggled in their first season. But that did not stop the Riverside Academy girls soccer team from having fun.

“I would say the first year for everyone involved was a learning experience,” said head coach Brad Landeche. “As we went along, I felt we improved during each game,” he said.

To explain how much progress his team made, Landeche recalled an incident during the first game of the season. “I remember the referee blew his whistle and I had almost all of the girls look at me and say ‘coach what do we do?”

Things got better though near the end of the season.

“I think near the end of the season I would only have three or four girls look at me when the referee blew his whistle instead of nearly the entire team,” Landeche said.

Two of the seniors that enjoyed their time while playing for the first-year team were Kayla Poirrier and Ashley Cella. Poirrier was amazed at how physical the sport is.

“At first, I was not sure if I wanted to do this, but the more I learned the more I liked it,” said Poirrier.

Cella had a more interesting reason for playing soccer at Riverside.

“I liked coming home with bruises,” she explained. “Because the more bruises I had the better I felt. The more bruises you have, the harder you played.”

While Poirrier described soccer as “something of a rough sport”, Cella took it a step further. “It’s like football without pads,” she said.

Landeche said he felt soccer was growing in the River Parishes while at Hahnville.

“I was over there (Hahnville) when they had soccer in the early 90’s. It was around the time people started soccer programs at Destrehan and Hahnville.

I think right now the popularity of the sport is growing in this area.”

Landeche was pleased with the play of both Cella and Poirrier this past season.

“For playing for the first time, Ashley was a pleasant surprise. She did a good job of stopping the ball from going into the goal. I think she did better than she expected.”

The head coach said he was proud of the way Poirrier adjusted to different positions during the season.

“We had Kayla play a wing position at mid-field until our center got hurt. She did well while playing one of the most difficult positions out there.”

Landeche said he knew of Cella’s toughness and willingness in a game against

St. Martin’s.

“Ashley put a move on one of the players and ended up getting an elbow but into her back. She got back up and took the ball away from her,” he said.

The future appears bright for the Lady Rebels soccer team.

“It looks fantastic. We had 22 girls come out this year and everybody got an opportunity to play. I am excited about the future,” Landeche said.

Riverside finished their season in February.

They only played a district schedule.