Becnel’s goal lifts Lutcher over SCC, 1-0

Published 11:45 pm Friday, November 22, 2013


LAPLACE – Neither team was at full strength, but local soccer fans were treated to a highly competitive rivalry game Wednesday night at Lutcher, as the host Bulldogs edged St. Charles Catholic, 1-0.
Ben Becnel’s goal with 10:40 left in the first half proved the difference for Lutcher, which reached the playoffs a season ago but has to replace many of the starters from that team.
“We lost eight seniors. We’re trying to rebuild a program,” said Becnel. “So to win tonight means a lot. We play with a lot of the (St. Charles) guys in club ball and we all know each other, so it’s a fun rivalry.”
Both teams were missing multiple players due to commitments at the state swimming championships and football playoffs.
The start to Lutcher’s season was delayed after the tragic death of Lutcher student Kadam Williamson, who was a friend and swimming teammate of a number of Bulldog players.
“We lost a young man in our community … it’s been difficult for everyone,” said Lutcher coach Zack Miller. “We didn’t play our best game tonight, but I was very proud of the way we competed. St. Charles is a good, well-coached team and they came to play tonight, and we still found a way to win.”
Goalkeeper Coy Amato was one reason why. Amato made a number of key saves to thwart St. Charles scoring opportunities, including a block of an in-the-box penalty kick by St. Charles’ Matthew Broussard.
“He played a tremendous game. He made two or three game-saving plays.”
St. Charles coach Sean LeBlanc concurred.
“(Amato) saved them about three times in that first half alone,” said LeBlanc. “After that, we didn’t create as much in the second half. Fatigue, I think, got to us a bit with the short bench.”
Early in the game, Amato made another save on a shot by Broussard eight minutes in.
Two minutes later, at the other end of the field, Lutcher’s Noah Bourgeois saw a shot attempt come up empty after a save by SCC’s Matthew Templet.
He blocked another shot by Luke Berthelot midway through the first half.
The Comets (0-1) generated opportunities for much of the first half and had a pair of solid chances early in the second half on shots by Nick Roussel and a penetration near the goal by Carter Duhe. Lutcher (1-0) was able to nullify both chances and from there largely took control of the ball.
“Possession in the midfield was really key for us,” said Becnel. “We couldn’t let them get it. They were dangerous on the attack.”
SCC came painfully close to tying things up on two occasions – first on a shot that hit the top goalpost.
The second came just before time expired, with SCC making a feverish comeback attempt.
Broussard scored on a throw in, placing a shot over the reach of Amato and into the upper corner of the net, but it was disallowed on a Comets throw-in violation.
“It was a mental error. We let our emotions get the best of us,” said LeBlanc. “But it was a heck of a shot.”
The two teams will rematch in January.
“This is a good local rivalry and we’re looking to keep it going,” said Miller. “One thing we can do to build soccer in our area is play these matchups with teams like St. Charles, and generate some excitement.”