Soccer

Highschool boys soccer: Benton’s run continues with Division II semifinal victory

Benton head boys soccer coach Bryan George believes a giant key to his Tigers’ success this season is his gamers’ unselfish angle towards the sport.

That was on show once more Monday afternoon at Bossier’s Memorial Stadium. The No. 3 seed Tigers earned a spot within the Division II state championship match with a 4-1 semifinal victory over No. 10 East Jefferson.

Benton (16-4-3) faces No. 1 Holy Cross (25-4-2) Friday evening at 7:30 at Strawberry Stadium in Hammond. Holy Cross, the three-time defending state champion, defeated No. 4 Ben Franklin 3-0 in its semifinal.

Benton had already made college historical past by reaching the semifinals for the primary time. The Tigers made it to the quarterfinals for the primary time two years in the past.

“It’s a as soon as in a lifetime-type alternative,” George mentioned. “I feel we’re the primary crew from Bossier Parish to do this in soccer. I feel we’re one of many few public faculties to have carried out in order effectively. I feel that’s a testomony in itself. It’s nice to signify this parish. It’s nice to signify our college. It’s one thing the boys take nice delight in. We’re simply blessed with the chance to have an opportunity at it.”

And all of it comes again to that unselfish type of play that has helped the Tigers rack up 14 straight victories. 

“What makes this group so particular is their work ethic,” George mentioned. “We go up a purpose they usually have the mindset and method that it’s zero to zero. They play so effectively collectively and it begins from each man on the bench to each man on the sector. Everyone performs their function. They’re unselfish. And it’s simply the perfect crew so far as group effort that I’ve ever been part of. And it certain is one thing particular. I’m really blessed.”

Benton received off to a quick begin towards East Jefferson (6-8-4), which upset No. 2 St. Thomas Extra within the semifinals.

The Tigers scored two targets within the first 10 minutes. The primary got here on a cross from Logan Smith to Devin Ryan for a tap-in.

“It was an exquisite cross, unselfish ball,” George mentioned. “Devin simply discovered the again of the online and put it away.”

A couple of minutes later, Smith scored on an help from Nolan Anderson to place the Tigers up 2-0.

“That sort of received the momentum going,” George mentioned. “It sort of calmed their nerves just a little bit to attain early and we simply sort of went from there.”

East Jefferson shortly received again in it with a purpose, reducing the lead in half.

However Benton received a giant shot of momentum when Smith was profitable on a penalty kick simply earlier than the half.

Ryan scored his second purpose early within the second half to make it 4-1. It got here after the Warriors’ goalkeeper made a save on a Smith kick. The ball hit off the bar and bounced out.

“Devin was proper there and completed it,” George mentioned.

Benton received robust performances from goalkeeper Steven Montgomery, who had 10 saves, and its group of defenders.

“Steven had a tremendous evening within the internet,” George mentioned. “He performed extraordinarily effectively.”

The Tigers’ defensive success has began with Ben Poole all season, George mentioned.

“In my eyes he’s some of the unselfish leaders ever,” he mentioned. “He’ll by no means give himself credit score. He’ll by no means converse extremely of himself, however that simply provides to his character. He’s unselfish. He’s a crew man and the work he does again there’s phenomenal. For my part he’s in all probability probably the greatest defenders within the state.

“And then you definitely throw in Cade Lollar, Dayne Reed and Reed Petro. The issues they do collectively, these 4, they delight themselves on taking part in stable protection and it reveals. We’ve allowed only a few targets this 12 months, knock on wooden.”

In three playoff matches, Benton has allowed two targets.

Benton athletics has had a outstanding run of current postseason success. Since 2018, the college has gained state championships in golf, baseball and women basketball.

Friday evening, the 2020-21 boys soccer crew could have a chance so as to add to that legacy.

— Featured photograph by Jeff Thomas

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