New coach Ella Fountain sees bright future for Riverside program

Published 12:02 am Saturday, January 14, 2017

RESERVE — Things are not exactly going according to plan for the Riverside Academy girls soccer team.

The Lady Rebels were coming off perhaps one of their best seasons, having won last year’s District 6-IV championship for its first title since 2011.

After earning the No. 10 seed, the team advanced to the second round of the playoffs.

Hopes were high for this season, too, with 2016 All-St. John the Baptist Parish girls Player of the Year Maddie Duhon returning and a new coach to lead them.

The season started fairly well, with the Rebels winning their share of several close matches in tournament play.

RA coach Ella Fountain, left, chats with assistant Heidi Garcich before game play Monday. (Lori Lyons/L’OBSERVATEUR)

RA coach Ella Fountain, left, chats with assistant Heidi Garcich before game play Monday. (Lori Lyons/L’OBSERVATEUR)

By the time district play began on Monday at St. Charles Catholic, the team was 10-5.

Things have taken a turn, though.

First, the Rebels lost Duhon, the team’s leading scorer, to a torn ACL. She will miss the rest of the season.

During Monday’s 6-3 loss to the Lady Comets, goalkeeper McKenzie Saucier suffered a shoulder injury and will miss the rest of the year.

By midweek, first-year coach Ella Fountain might have been rethinking her move to the River Parishes, which aren’t exactly the hotbed of high school soccer.

She wasn’t really.

“Riverside has always had an exceptionally competitive and dedicated athletic department,” Fountain said. “That’s what drew me to it. The last couple of years Riverside has done real well and gotten to the second round of the playoffs and they’ve done well in the district they’re in.”

As of this week, Fountain was shuffling her roster to get through the remaining two weeks of the season.

Playoff pairings will be announced Jan. 31 and the Lady Rebels should be in the hunt once more.

They will be leaning on freshman Jada Williams, junior Shyanne Badeaux and senior Taylor Aubert, but Fountain admits she doesn’t know who will fill the goalkeeper role.

It’s all part of the job for Fountain, a former high school, collegiate and club soccer player — who happens to be the granddaughter of the legendary late jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain.

“He used to come to all my games,” Fountain said. “He would sign autographs.”

Fountain said she tried to follow in his footsteps by taking up the clarinet in elementary school.

“I was the first of his kids or grandchildren to play an instrument,” she said. “I didn’t play it particularly well, but I played. He came to all my band concerts and signed as many autographs there as he did at my soccer games.”

A former Catholic School teacher and coach, Fountain now owns an event planning business in the French Quarter.

“I guess I’m in the entertainment business like him,” she joked.

Fountain said she sees a bright future for the Riverside’s soccer programs (recent events not withstanding). One step in that direction is the formation of a new recreation soccer league, the River Region Rebels, which includes players from St. Peter, St. Joan of Arc and Ascension of Our Lord.

“It’s really going to contribute to the building of the girls and boys soccer programs,” Fountain said.