Home Sports-Free High school soccer: Benton’s historic season ends with title game loss

High school soccer: Benton’s historic season ends with title game loss

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The Benton Tigers put up a good fight, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

The No. 3 seed Tigers fell to top seed Holy Cross 3-0 in the Division II boys state championship game Friday night at Strawberry Stadium in Hammond.

It was Holy Cross’ fourth straight state title. The Tigers from New Orleans finished 26-4-2.

The loss did nothing to diminish what the Tigers from Benton accomplished this season.

Benton finished 16-5-3, which included a 14-match winning streak that ended Friday.

Benton reached the semifinals for the first time in school history with a 2-0 quarterfinal victory over district rival Caddo Magnet. Then the Tigers did one better than that, making the finals for the first time with a 4-1 victory over East Jefferson.

With that win, the Tigers became only the second team from Bossier Parish to make it to a state championship game. Parkway was the first, teaching the Division II finals 20 years ago.

Benton was the only non-select (public, using the LHSAA’s method of dividing football schools) to make it to a boys title game in one of the four divisions this season. (Lusher Charter, a public charter school located in New Orleans and coached by former Parkway star Ben Barcelona, won the Division III championship.)

The Tigers also won the District 1-II title with a 6-0 record.

Holy Cross put pressure on Benton early and scored on a shot from 20 yards out. Carlos Castellanos, named the game’s Most Outstanding Player, scored on a penalty kick with about four minutes left in the first half for a 2-0 lead.

The only goal of the second half came at around the 21st minute on a shot that glanced off the crossbar. That came just after Benton missed an opportunity to cut the lead in half.

Holy Cross’ defense and aggressive play on offense were key. Holy Cross outshot Benton 16-3.

Holy Cross did not allow a goal in four playoff games. Friday’s shutout was its 20th of the season.

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