Freshmen spark Baton Rouge High win

GONZALES — Baton Rouge High used a pair of goals by two freshmen to edge East Ascension 2-1 in girls soccer action Friday night.

Natalie Presedo gave the ninth-ranked Bulldogs a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute, and Kennedy Smith scored in the 48th minute as Baton Rouge High led 2-0.

The Spartans’ Ally Miller put No. 10 East Ascension on the scoreboard in the 79th minute, but it wasn’t enough.

Baton Rouge High improves to 20-1-3 and 8-0 in Division I, District 5.

The Bulldogs have been hampered by the rainy conditions that have blanketed Baton Rouge, and have four district games it will try to play in the next 10 days.

East Ascension (15-10-1, 6-4) will round out its district play with a pair of games next week.

“I’m real proud of our girls for staying composed,” Baton Rouge High coach Sheila Achee said after her squad posted its second 2-1 win over East Ascension this season.

“It was a physical game. They did a good job of taking us out of our rhythm. We’re a team that likes to play the ball on the ground. They play the ball more direct and in the air than we do.”

The physical play took its toll as Rumaan Ebrahim spent time on the bench following a hard first-half foul and was one of several players for both teams that needed a breather.

Still, it was the BRHS defense that held up for most of the night and made the difference in the win.

“We only made one defensive mistake right there at the end,” Achee said. “Other than that, I thought we played a really great game. Kudos to (East Ascension).

“They came out really hard and did a good job of breaking up our rhythm.”

Presedo’s first-half goal came from just outside the top left side of the penalty box. East Ascension’s Janna Gautreau stepped in front of the shot, but the ball caromed backwards off of her head, high over goalkeeper Lynda Boylan and into the net.

“It was an unfortunate goal coming off of Janna’s head,” East Ascension coach Chris Goodall said. “I think the goalkeeper called for it, but there’s that split second where you don’t have the time.”

The goal stood for the rest of the half, but East Ascension found itself playing with confidence by halftime.

“We were pleased with the way we were playing,” Goodall said. “The last time we played we thought they had our number in central midfield. I thought we were on equal footing (this time).”

Early in the second half, Smith chased down a pass that got through a pair of defenders. Smith dribbled into the right side of the penalty box before depositing a kick in the left corner.

Boylan, who finished with four saves, got a hand on the ball but only slowed it down.

“I thought we did a good job of taking advantage of the opportunities we got,” Achee said.

East Ascension broke through late in the contest when Rebecca Austin chased down a pass in the right corner. Austin centered the ball to Miller, who redirected the ball into the net at close range.

“I was so proud that they scored at the end,” Goodall said. “I would have loved another two minutes there, but credit Baton Rouge on that second goal. It was a quality goal. It was a counterattack, and it caught us off balance.”

East Ascension outshot Baton Rouge High 12-11. Bulldogs goalkeeper Rachel Bourgeois finished with six saves.