Larae Breaux lifts Lafayette High to Div. I girls title

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON Lafayette's Arieal Alexander, far left, celebrates her team's winning goal 2-1 over St. Scholastic Academy at the LHSAA's Division I girls soccer state championship at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans on Saturday.
Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON Lafayette's Arieal Alexander, far left, celebrates her team's winning goal 2-1 over St. Scholastic Academy at the LHSAA's Division I girls soccer state championship at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans on Saturday.

NEW ORLEANS — Lafayette High School goalie Larae Breaux proved as durable and sturdy in stopping pivotal late-match shots in the Lions’ 2-1 victory over St. Scholastica on Tad Gormley Stadium’s pristine turf on a soggy Saturday evening.

Despite giving up SSA’s only goal in the third minute, Breaux came up with several saves in the match’s late-minute flurry of shots on goal in a thrilling matchup of the top-ranked Division I schools for the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Division I title.

“It was so intense,” Breaux said. “I was literally watching the scoreboard the whole time, counting down the seconds. It was the longest half in my life.”

Breaux earned the match’s Outstanding Player Award.

“I’m so proud of what we did tonight,” she said. “Words can’t describe how happy I am.”

Junior Abby Childress scored the Doves’ sole goal, though the squad controlled possession and 11-8 edge in shots on goal.

“I thought we did a great job of controlling the game for the most part,” SSA coach Mike Ortner said. “We created quite a few opportunities at the end. But you have put our chances away or you end up situations like this, getting beaten by a goal. We had three or four bounce off the crossbars. Sometimes they bounce in, sometimes they don’t.”

The game lived up to its billing.

“One versus two. … I certainly think we gave everyone what they were looking for tonight,” Lafayette coach Katie Breaux said. “SSA is a great team. We’re just lucky to outmuscle them tonight.”

Describing her postgame mood as “awesome,” Breaux also acknowledged the game-of-inches truth in SSA’s narrow misses in costing them the Division I championship, which they competed in for the fifth time.

“With ball floating around like it was, luck was definitely on our side. We’ll take the luck tonight,” she said.

Breaux said her squad is “using to playing backed up on our heels” with numerous come-from-behind victories this season and credits maturity and physical fitness as the major factors in elevating a squad with just two new roster members — including freshman forward Arieal Alexander, who scored the winning goal with just under 14 minutes left.

“We will try to get over this,” Ortner said as SSA players filed into the locker room, embraces and sobbing marking the team’s walk through Gormley’s concrete concourse. “Hopefully the pain that they fell will be the drive and determination for next year.”

Cayla Hebert scored Lafayette’s first goal at the 33-minute mark.