High school soccer: Benton girls reach Division II quarterfinals

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The Benton Lady Tigers advanced to the quarterfinals of the Division II girls soccer playoffs with a 1-0 victory over Terrebonne on a cold and wet Tuesday evening at Bossier’s Memorial Stadium.

The No. 8 seed Lady Tigers (14-10-3) will travel to Lafayette to face No. 1 St. Thomas More (17-4-5) in the quarterfinals. The Lady Cougars defeated No. 16 Bonnabel 8-0 in the second round.

Terrebonne, the No. 9 seed, closed its season 18-10.

In another Division II second-round match, No. 15 Haughton fell to No. 2 Neville 6-0 in Monroe. The Lady Bucs closed a solid season 11-10-2. Neville improved to 18-4-2.

According to Benton first-year coach Nick Thompson, this marks the first time in school history a Benton girls team has made it to the quarterfinals.

It will also be Thompson’s first trip to the quarterfinals as a coach.

The match was hard-fought throughout. 

Jamie Willis scored the lone goal about 30 minutes into the first half. Lexy Ybarra had the assist.

Benton goalkeeper Merritt Lauterbach turned in an outstanding performance. She had eight saves, including a punch up and out that preserved the lead in the second half.

“Tonight’s game was slow to start but the girls left everything on the field,” Thompson said in an e-mail message. “Getting in front of shots and getting to every ball was truly what made the difference for us.”

While the conditions made it tough for both teams, Thompson said the Lady Tigers were prepared for them.

“We practice in the rain and play on grass and turf during the season to prepare for games like this,” he said.

“They really deserve this first quarterfinal appearance on the girls side in the school’s history. They are a very tough group of girls playing in conditions like that and have learned so much this season. 

“Implementing what they know already and mixing it with the fine tuning we do at practice has made a tremendous impact on the field. I’m their biggest fan.”

Thompson expected a tough battle from Terrebonne.

“I’ve faced Terrebonne before in the playoffs when I was at Captain Shreve five years ago and those Terrebonne girls are also a tough group to beat,” he said. “My hat goes off to them and their coaching staff for a hard-fought game.”

The Benton boys will be looking to advance to the quarterfinals Wednesday. The No. 10 seed Tigers (11-8-6) face No. 7 Bonnabel (15-6-3) at 4 p.m. at Joe Yenni Stadium in Metairie.

Bossier (22-2-1), the No. 8 seed, hosts No. 9 New Orleans Military & Maritime in a Division III boys second-round Match Thursday at 5.