The Lady Tigers, the 10th seed, got the start they needed as senior Sarina Morales scored a quick Morgan City goal in the first minute off an assist by freshman Shannon Theriot for a quick 1-0.
However, that would be the last time the Lady Tigers would take the lead as Ursuline settled down and dominated the remainder of the game offensively en route to a 5-2 victory at Pan American Stadium.
“(We) should have done a lot better,” Morgan City coach Trevor Patterson said. “They’re not a better team than us.”
At least on Wednesday night, No. 7 Ursuline was, though.
After Morgan City’s goal, which was scored on the Lady Tigers’ first trip deep into Ursuline territory, the Lions dominated the first half on offense, led by the duo of eighth-grader Alex Thomas and senior Hannah Michael.
Ursuline coach Winston Lewis said he thought the Morgan City goal calmed his team’s nerves.
“That’s when we started getting a little bit more organized … and (stick) to the game plan,” Lewis said.
What offensive chances Morgan City had in the remainder of the first half were stymied by penalties, while a penalty kick by Morgan City freshman Sarah Patterson went straight to the goalie.
Defensively, Morgan City goalie Layne Reynaud was kept busy saving shots either during play or on penalty kicks, while other MCHS defenders were able to deflect Ursuline threats, initially.
However, in the 18th minute, Ursuline finally broke through when Michael connected on a volley over Reynaud’s head following an Ursuline inbound pass from a teammate.
The Lions extended their lead just before halftime on a Thomas free kick from at least 30 yards out that sailed over Reynaud’s head at the 39:40 mark of the first half.
In the second half, Ursuline quickly added to its lead on a breakaway goal by Alex Vicari to extend its lead to 3-1 in the game’s 46th minute.
Morgan City initially appeared to have cut the Ursuline score to 3-2 when Theriot’s kick from 28 yards out hit the top of the goal’s cross bar and fell straight down.
However, the referee determined it was not a goal. From his view, T. Patterson said he thought the shot was good.
Later in the second half, Morgan City had an opportunity near the goal when the Ursuline goalie lost possession of the ball momentarily, but the offense couldn’t convert.
In the 65th minute, the Lady Tigers would finally cut the Ursuline lead to 3-2 when Theriot received a pass from a teammate across the field and booted the ball into the goal, cutting the Ursuline lead to 3-2.
Morgan City had another shot later in the game when S. Patterson had a free kick from about 20 yards out, but the ball went straight to the Ursuline goalie.
Ursuline responded with two quick goals in the 77th minute on a Thomas pass to Michael and again in the 79th minute on a Taylor Compton pass to Thomas.
Lewis said he has been working on getting Thomas and Michael to play more together all season.
“We put them in the (midfield positions) together that way they could link up and hopefully break the other team’s defense down,” he said. “Because if they (defense) try to stop one, the other’s going to get free. It naturally worked. It worked pretty well.”
T. Patterson said the Theriot no-goal and the S. Patterson failed free kick could have made a difference for the Lady Tigers.
“Instead we had to try and push up to get the next goal and doing so left our defense vulnerable to the speed and skill of Ursuline,” he said.
T. Patterson said his squad is inexperienced, looked lost at times and didn’t play as well as they had against better teams.
“Ursuline had a phenomenal eighth grade player that controlled the game that is young,” T. Patterson said. “In addition, Ursuline had experienced players that knew the game and play for select and travel teams. That is the difference and always will be for Morgan City going as far as they do.”
Despite the win, Lewis wasn’t happy with his team’s performance, either, and let his team know it after the game.
“We didn’t play up to par at all,” Lewis said. “If you even ask them (Ursuline players), they know they didn’t play up to their level. We’re actually quicker than this. We’re faster than this, and our organization is much better.”
Ursuline will continue playoff action in the quarterfinals when they travel to Lafayette to play defending Division II state champion Teurlings Catholic, this year’s No. 2 seed.