The top-seeded Vandebilt boys soccer team was eliminated by No. 8-seed Episcopal High in penalty kicks Monday night.
It’s the first time the Terriers haven’t advanced past the semifinals since 2012, while the Knights are advancing to the semifinals for the first time since 2013.
Episcopal, which trailed 1-0 for nearly 60 minutes until they leveled the score in the waning seconds of regulation, won 3-2 in a penalty kick shootout.
“It was a tough one to take, I think we should have won it. It’s bitterly disappointing we couldn’t go a bit further. While it stings now, and it’s raw and it hurts, this season was full of success,” said Vandebilt head coach Paul Shenton.
Vandebilt maintained control for most of regulation, dominating possession and outshooting Episcopal 18-12, including 10 shots on goal. Stephen Waitz opened the scoring midway through the first half when he pulled in a pass on the right side of the box from Clinton Erny, crossed over two defenders and scored with his left foot.
Though the Terriers seemed poised to tack on a few more, several scoring chances came up empty. With the goalkeeper beat and a chance to double the lead with only a couple of minutes left in regulation, Brennan Rogers headed a shot that hit the crossbar.
Then, less than a minute later, Episcopal’s Logan Robertson hit the equalizer. He came crashing in on a cross and headed home a ball that had bounced off of the heads of several players before he got to it. That goal gave the Knights new energy.
“I think there was a change with about 20 minutes left in the game,” said Episcopal head coach Miles Vaughn. “Our mentality shifted like they were thinking this might be it. My guys did a great job of trying to force the issue and I’m proud of them for sticking it out.”
In overtime, Jacob Deblieux beat Episcopal keeper David Tatman twice but couldn’t give the Terriers the lead. His first shot was denied by an impressive play by an Episcopal defender and his second shot, a diving header, skipped past Tatman but barely missed left.
The game ended with the Terriers missing their last three penalty kicks.
“It’s tough to finish a season with a loss, and a loss like that as well,” Shenton said. “But I enjoy working with those boys. (This game) does not define that team, those players. What they do next will define them as people.”
No. 1 VANDEBILT 6, No. 8 UNIVERSITY LAB 1 (at Houma, D-III quarterfinals)
Statistical leaders: Vandebilt -- Molly Thompson (two goals), Hannah Cuneo (goal), Julia Wood (goal), Julianne Deblieux (goal), Grace Champagne (two assists), Morgan Alston (assist). University Lab -- Olivia Barre (goal).
Records: Vandebilt (23-4-3), University Lab (14-6-3)
Up next: No. 1 Vandebilt vs. No. 5 E.D. White.
Quotable: Phil Amedee “University high showed up to play, they brought it but we answered every challenge. We played really well, combined some passes and played solid defensively. It’s a semifinal game, that’s big. E.D. white is a game. The combination adds more excitement to that game. It’s the playoffs, whoever the opponent we’re going to be prepared for whoever it is. E.D. White, I’m glad to meet them it shows the level of soccer we have in our area that two teams from the area have made it to the semis.”
DIVISION III QUARTERFINAL PLAYOFFS
No. 5 E.D. WHITE CATHOLIC 1, No. 4 ST. LOUIS CATHOLIC 0
At Lake Charles, E.D. White scored a second-half goal to get past St. Louis on Monday.
Taylor Marcombe nudged in a cross from Madison Konur early in the second half for the game’s only goal.
The Lady Cardinals kept the pressure on the Saints the whole game, taking 19 shots. The Saints (17-4-4) spent most of the game chasing the swift Cardinals.
“We can run, we play a high-tempo game and put pressure on people,” E.D. White Head Coach Don Grabert said. “We were able to get a lot of attempts but could only convert one of them. We have to work on that. Defensively, we were able to take it away from them. They have a good team. We played wonderful.”
E.D. White goalie Taylor Benoit recorded 10 saves in the win.
“Taylor played well,” Grabert said. “She was able to come out the box and grab those balls. A lot of the shots she saved were long ball kicks that she had to come out and get.”
The Cardinals (20-4-5) will play the No. 1 Vandebilt Catholic in the semifinals match later this week. The game day and time hasn’t been announced yet.
E.D. White made it to the Division III semifinal round last year, but lost to Academy of the Sacred Heart 3-1. Grabert said the Lady Cardinals are excited to make it back.
“Our players played really well as a team (on Monday). We did a great job coming on the road and getting a win.” It’s the second year in a row to semis. This group of seniors have been great during the last couple of years.”
St. Louis coach Toby Landry said the Lady Cardinals used their defense to set the tone early during Monday’s match.
“Their center back (Morgan Toups) had a great game, their goalie (Taylor Benoit) made a great save early in the second half,” said Lady Saints head coach Toby Landry. “We executed our game plan the way we wanted to, we just weren’t able to click offensively. They pulled us offsides quite a few times. Defensively, we held hard, but it came down to set pieces like I said it would and we did not even get a corner kick. They got one and executed it.”
-- Staff Writer Chris Singleton and Lake Charles American Press writer Warren Arceneaux contributed to this report.