Comets best Rebels 4-1, on to playoffs
Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, February 4, 2014
By RYAN ARENA
LAPLACE — After a 4-1 loss at Dunham on Saturday, St. Charles Catholic had one more chance to enter the playoffs on a high note: to play well and defeat rival Riverside in the regular season finale for both teams.
The Comets did exactly that, scoring two goals in each of the first and second halves on the way to a 4-1 victory at home over the Rebels and a season sweep of RA.
St. Charles defeated Riverside 1-0 last month in Reserve in the first matchup between the teams.
Albert Hane, Nathaniel Weinert, Mason Roussel and Andrew Rodrigue all scored goals for SCC, which has won eight of its last 11 matches.
Riverside’s Tyler Gauthier scored Riverside’s lone goal, putting the breakout sophomore’s goal total at 22 to end the season.
On the Comets’ annual senior night, one of the team’s eight seniors came through with one of the night’s biggest scores. With 23:20 left to play in the game, and SCC leading 2-1, Nathaniel Weinert scored on a header off of a feed from Dalton Landry, giving SCC a 3-1 lead and all the breathing room it would need to close things out.
“It was pretty big, more than anything just because of how clean that play was,” said St. Charles coach Sean LeBlanc. “That was very well-executed. When a team’s cut it to a goal deficit and you hit on a play like that, it can be deflating to them.”
Hane busted open what was a scoreless tie with 20:50 left to play in the first half, converting a short shot to make it a 1-0 SCC (8-4-3) lead.
Just under 11 minutes later, Rodrigue struck, netting his own goal from short range to give SCC a 2-0 lead that held through halftime.
“We were feeling it tonight. We had an off day (Saturday),” said Rodrigue. “We played with a lot more energy and gelled together this time. We’ve got a good mix of seniors, juniors and underclassmen and everyone’s been trusting one another to make plays.”
But Riverside (4-13-4) was determined to push the Comets for a second time, and Gauthier blasted through to score on a leakout, cutting SCC’s lead to 2-1 with 30:31 left in the second half.
The Comets’ final goal came off the foot of Roussel, who lofted a ball high and into the back corner of the net to set the final 4-1 margin.
Riverside coach Paul Shenton said that he and his players felt a bit disappointed with the season’s final result — Riverside did not qualify for the postseason after harboring hopes of returning there after a hot start.
But the rebuilding program made big strides this season in Shenton’s second year at the helm.
“In our district, we’re faced with three very good teams,” said Shenton. “I thought we competed pretty well outside of the two Dunham games. I think Parkview Baptist is the lowest ranked of those teams at 17 … last season, I think we would have lost 10-0 to a team of that caliber.’
“So while it kind of stings me to fall short of the playoffs, putting it in perspective I thought we pushed forward this season.”
An interesting subplot of the game was that it pitted brothers Mason and Ryan Roussel against one another, starters for the Comets and Rebels respectively.
“It feels like we’re back playing in the backyard,” said Ryan Roussel. “We talk a little bit but it’s just joking around. We definitely look forward to it.”
Added Mason, “It’s always pretty interesting. I know our guys are gonna start ragging me if he steals the ball from me or something, so I definitely want to come out and play better.”