Vandebilt focused on state title rematch against Teurlings
Thu. February 23, 2012 at 10:06 a.m. | By Chris Singleton/Staff Writer
Vandebilt Catholic's Kimberly Grasso (7) goes up for the ball against Lakeshore's Julia Meyers during the Division II semifinals match last week in Houma. (Photo by Michael Conti/Staff)
If anyone knows what it is like to lose in state championship games, it is the members of the Vandebilt Catholic girls soccer team.
In the last two years, the Lady Terriers have suffered heartbreaking losses in the Division II state finals, falling to St. Louis Catholic in 2010 and to Teurlings Catholic in 2011.
Vandebilt, which is the top-seeded team in the Division II playoffs this season, is preparing for another state championship match, advancing to its fifth straight after beating Lakeshore 6-2 in the Division II semifinals last week.
In the state finals, Vandebilt will face a familiar foe in No. 2 Teurlings Catholic, which is the same team that walked into Buddy Marcello Stadium and handed the Lady Terriers a 2-1 loss in the state finals a year ago.
The two teams will meet up again in the state finals at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans at 5 p.m. Friday.
And the Lady Terriers are hungry for a rematch.
"We're ready for it," Vandebilt junior Kim Grasso said. "We just have to play our game and do what we have to do."
Vandebilt is gunning for its third state title in school history and its first since 2009.
Lady Terriers coach Philip Amedee, who is in his sixth season at Vandebilt, said his team is determined to end its two-year losing streak in state championship matches.
"I don't know if its much of a revenge factor as it is getting it done and finishing what they started," Amedee said. "I think they are still feeling in these last two years we came up a bit short, and I think they are feeling a little incomplete. They want to finish the job now and get it done."
In order to get it done, Vandebilt (21-5-2 overall) will face a tough Teurlings (20-5-3) team that has wins of 11-0 against E.D. White Catholic in the regionals, 6-0 over Ursuline in the quarterfinals and 3-2 over St. Louis Catholic in two overtimes in the semifinals.
It will be the second meeting of the season for both Vandebilt and Teurlings, who tied each other at 1-1 during the Lakeshore tournament on Dec. 30.
"We have a long history with Teurlings," Amedee said. "They are very talented. They know how to win. They've been there before, so there is not that much of an intimidation factor. Teurlings does a good job of defending us. They know all of our strengths."
Teurlings coach Lance Peltier, who is seeking to lead the Lady Rebels to their second state championship in school history, said he expects another thrilling state finals.
"We're excited to be able to play Vandebilt. Coach Phil and the Vandebilt girls are a very good team," he said. "Last year in the state championship game, it came down to the very last minute. We anticipate it being a very good game."
Vandebilt has scored 15 goals during its three playoff wins over St. Michael's, Lutcher and Lakeshore.
Peltier said Teurlings, which has scored 20 goals this postseason, will have to slow down Vandebilt's offense on Friday.
"I don't think it's going to be a high-scoring game," Peltier said. "I think Vandebilt's defense is very good. We feel like our defense is very good. We both have impact players on our team that can score goals, so I anticipate it being a very defensive game like last year's game."
Amedee said the Lady Terriers must counter Teurlings' defense by attacking early and taking advantage of scoring opportunities.
"I'm hoping its not a low scoring game," Amedee said. "That favors Teurlings a little bit. That's what they want to do. We are very potent offensively, and I'm hoping we can come out strong and play really well and score a few goals. We're not going to come out in a defensive mode. We're going to attack like we've done all year long."
In last week's semifinals, Vandebilt trailed 1-0 early to Lakeshore before taking a 2-1 halftime lead and pulling away with four second half goals.
Vandebilt junior Carly Ellender said if the Lady Terriers play the whole match like they did in the second half against Lakeshore, they could beat anybody.
"We just have to have each other's back and work really hard to beat them," Ellender said. "Our defense has to stop them, and our offense has to score on our opportunities. As long as we have each other's backs and leave it all on the field, we have a good chance."
Amedee said Vandebilt will have to play better against a Teurlings team that has only two seniors this year.
"I know the second half was some of the best soccer we've played all year long, but to win a state championship, we'll have to pick it up another notch and execute," he said.
Friday's match will mark the final contest for Vandebilt's seven seniors (Haley Billiot, Lexie Bonvillain, Katelyn Daigle, Meghan Philp, Sarah Powell, Marcie St. Germaine and Lauren Voisin).
Billiot, a goal keeper who has made several big saves for the Lady Terriers during the playoffs, said the senior class is extra motivated to go out on top.
"It think it would be great to win it in our senior year because it is a big group of us are leaving," Billiot said. "It's our last shot."
The seniors were around when Vandebilt won its first two state titles in 2008 and 2009.
After losing the last two state finals, Amedee said it would be fitting for the seniors to leave with their third championship.
"They've experienced the joy of winning and the agony of defeat," Amedee said. "It would be a great justice for them to go out on top this year. They've really worked hard and showed a lot of leadership this year. They are very deserving of a championship."