Episcopal boys soccer team tops Lusher, 3-1

Advocate  photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON Episcopal's Clement Mubingarwa tries to maintain control of the ball as Lusher's Joe Roberts comes in from behind during their Division III quarterfinal playoff game Saturday at Episcopal.
Advocate photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON Episcopal's Clement Mubingarwa tries to maintain control of the ball as Lusher's Joe Roberts comes in from behind during their Division III quarterfinal playoff game Saturday at Episcopal.

Episcopal won a contentious Division III boys soccer quarterfinal 3-1 against Lusher Charter at Episcopal on Saturday night, avenging their last loss in 2012-13 and their playoff loss in 2011-12.

The Knights, who have not lost since dropping a 2-1 decision to the Lions earlier this season, got goals from Adam Clausen, Clement Mubingarwa and Austin Couvillion. With the win, Episcopal advanced to the semifinals, where district rivals Parkview Baptist awaits. Parkview beat Catholic-New Iberia 1-0.

“I think we came out with a mission,” said Episcopal coach Chris Stewart. “These guys knocked us out last year and beat us earlier this year. We had a good understanding of how they like to play. We tried to eliminate some of their possession-oriented passing and their ability to drop the ball, and I thought we hit their high pressure all over the field and we just outworked them.”

Andrew Malinich scored Lusher’s lone goal, early in the second half, but a red card and a number of fouls called — including a hand ball in the penalty area that led to Clausen’s goal from the spot — left Lions coach Daniel Perez with a sour taste in his mouth.

“They awarded the PK when the ball struck one of our players solidly in the chest,” Perez said. “By anyone’s standards that was properly defended, and (the referee) said there was an arm involved in the play so he awarded a hand ball there.”

The Knights had the first quality attack in the fifth minute, but on the counter, Mubingarwa’s through ball went to the feet of Clausen instead of in front of him, limiting the power on Clausen’s shot and handing Lusher goalkeeper Jared Neeb a comfortable save.

Episcopal’s controversial opening goal started with a set play just outside the penalty area in the 16th minute. Cody Mitchell’s free kick careened into the wall, where a Lions defender was ruled to have handled it. Clausen stepped up to take the penalty kick, and from the spot, rifled the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal.

The Knights made it 2-0 just three minutes later when another Mitchell free kick bounced around in the penalty area before Mubingarwa back heeled it past Neeb and into the goal.

Malinich pulled one back for the Lions in the 49th minute, redirecting a Joe Roberts free kick past Erol Knauss into the back of the Episcopal net.

In the 55th minute Brannon Bienasz almost picked up the Knights’ third, but Neeb tipped his header over the bar. Couvillion did not give Neeb a chance to repeat his heroics off the Mitchell corner, slamming the ball into the goal on his first attempt.

Lusher attacked with more purpose in the second half, and a defensive miscue by Episcopal gave Christopher Chatters an opening in the 56th minute, but Chatters’ shot was saved by Knauss.

In the 76th minute, Beau Lemaire received a red card for dissent, leaving the Lions with just 10 players in the final four minutes.