Lady Terriers focused on taking home elusive title
Tue. January 29, 2013 at 11:50 a.m. | By Kelly McElroy/Staff Writer
Vandebilt Catholic senior soccer players Kim Grasso (left) and Makelle Peña (right) are hoping to help lead the Lady Terriers to a Division II championship this season after the team finished as state runner-up the last three years. (Photo by Addie Gibbons/Correspondent)
The Vandebilt Catholic girls soccer team is tired of silver trophies, and its coach, Phillip Amedee, said he is out of second-place postgame speeches.
So with the state playoffs beginning soon, and after three straight state runner-up finishes, the Lady Terriers and their 11 seniors are focused on one goal — winning the 2013 Division II state championship.
The Lady Terriers, who have a first-round bye in the playoffs, have finished on the wrong side of the last three state title matches after back-to-back 2-1 losses to Teurlings Catholic in 2011 and 2012 and a 2-0 loss to St. Louis Catholic in 2010.
Vandebilt, which is 23-2-1 this season and cruised to another district title, last won a state title in 2009 with a 5-0 victory over Teurlings Catholic, but this group of seniors was in the eighth grade.
"It is the ultimate goal," Amedee said of winning a state title. "Here at Vandebilt we are happy making it to the state championship, but we are not satisfied with the second-place trophy. It has to be a little more this year. I've run out of second-place speeches."
The nine senior players are Whitney Champagne, Carly Ellender, Kristy Fazzio, Kimberly Grasso, Morgan Lewis, Shannon Matzke, Makelle Peña, Abby Thibodeaux and Kayla Wayne and the two senior managers are Cristina Tefel and Syliva Masters.
Peña, the team's top goal scorer, said the sting of losing in the state title match three years in a row, has been motivation for Vandebilt.
"It is all that we have been thinking about," Peña said. "It will take a lot of work and effort for these last few weeks. The work ethic is there, we just have to bring it every game in the playoffs. This is our last year, so we have to give it our all."
Amedee said he has gotten the best from his senior class this season.
"My seniors are especially motivated," Amedee said. "They have gotten that silver trophy three years in a row. They are determined we change the color of the trophy at the end of the year."
Amedee said the top competition in the Division II playoffs will be from clubs like Teurlings Catholic, Ben Franklin, Lakeshore, Ouachita, Neville and Lutcher
"We have to keep working hard and keep focused and get that last game," Grasso, a starting midfielder, said. "We have a lot of heart and stay focused on what we have to get done. We just have to keep pushing and stay fired up. This is just a great team to be on."
Amedee said this year's team has shown its passion for the game.
"What makes this team special is their commitment to soccer. They live, eat, breath the game of soccer. They are committed to the game, and to their teammates," Amedee said. "Their work ethic this year has been great. We have not had that the last few years, but this year the girls and the coaching staff have recommitted themselves to the game."
And while Amedee hopes to send his seniors out with the gold trophy, they too want to win one for him.
"He is like a father figure to us. That is another reason we are working so hard this year, to show him and give back to him like he gives to us. To do that, would be to win the state championship," Ellender, a starting sweeper, said. "He always says no matter the record you have or how well you play, you are only considered a winner if you win that last game, and that is the goal we are working toward."