Comets take dramatic win over Rebels
Published 11:45 pm Friday, January 9, 2015
By RYAN ARENA
LAPLACE — St. Charles Catholic’s Andrew Rodrigue collapsed to the ground as his team mobbed him in celebration.
“I just fell,” he said. “It wasn’t any single thought. I just knew we’d won.”
His game-winning attempt found the back of the net Tuesday in overtime PKs, warding off a stiff challenge from rival Riverside on the soccer field, the Comets outkicking the Rebels 4-3 in the shootout.
“It was everything you’d want in a high school rivalry soccer game,” St. Charles coach Sean LeBlanc said.
“A lot of these guys grew up together, they hang out together, and when they put on those jerseys, for a few hours they’re fierce competitors.”
Riverside coach Jonathan Reed was proud of his team’s effort in a game the Rebels entered as underdogs.
“Our guys played their hearts out,” Reed said. “That’s a superior soccer team we just played, and we took ’em down to the wire.
“No matter what sport it is, these two teams come out ready for action when they face off.”
The teams were tied 1-1 after regulation and 2-2 after two overtime halves.
SCC (6-1) had its back against the wall, with the underdog Rebels needing to perhaps push just one more kick through in PKs to secure victory following a clutch save by RA goalkeeper Evan Kenney. Kenney’s save kept RA afloat after their previous attempt hit the post.
But as he has many times before, SCC goalkeeper Matthew Templet came up huge.
Templet’s lunging save on the Rebels’ next kick kept the Comets alive, and Rodrigue put one in the back of the net to seal the victory.
Each team made its first three kicks.
But when Templet made the stop on what was ultimately the Rebels’ final kick, the pressure was on Rodrigue to make it count.
“He has a special kick he uses for PKs,” Templet said. “He always gets me with it in practice, every day. So I had a lot of faith in him.”
As far as the goalkeeping: was it nervewracking?
“Very,” Templet said. “I knew we had to have a stop, and you know any miss could be our last.
“On the first three kicks, I was guessing. On the last two, I followed my instincts.”
LeBlanc said it was a credit to Templet’s mental toughness, something forged from experience: though Templet is just a sophomore, he’s been SCC’s starter in goal for the previous two seasons.
“That’s Templet growing up,” LeBlanc said. “He’s becoming a leader. He’s in his third year back there, and he’s evolved into that guy who wants to make the big play.”
Riverside (2-4) took a 1-0 lead in the middle of the first half when Elliot Veron banked home his ninth goal of the season off of a corner throw-in.
But SCC quickly answered, Emile Cupit scoring on a header to knot things up. That 1-1 score held into halftime and through the second half, though not for lack of chances: Riverside nearly put home a go-ahead goal when Gauthier barely missed an open goal to the left, hitting the post; SCC’s Daniel Jaubert, conversely, almost ended things on his own close kick, but his attempt sailed too high.
Cupit almost scored on a second header during the first 10-minute overtime half, but this time Kenney was ready, making a diving save. At the other end, it was Déjà vu for Gauthier, who barely missed another potential score a hair to the left of the goal.
But near the end of the O.T. period, RA’s Bailey Vicknair scored on a header to make it 2-1.
Albert Hane answered for the Comets to kick off the second O.T., scoring on a header to tie things up.