By DAVID ERSOFF, Journal Sports
Beginning this weekend with the preliminary rounds, the Louisiana Soccer Association stages the Louisiana State Cup for U18 and U19 teams. Three local teams will be in the thick of the battle to bring home the titles — Shreveport United 03 girls Blue, 03 boys Blue and 04 boys Blue.
The 03 boys Blue team earned a bye straight into the semifinals March 26 in Baton Rouge.
The 03 girls Blue team finished the state league in third place with a 2-1-1 record (9-8-1 overall), including a win over top-seeded Cajun Rush 2-1 Feb. 20 at Cargil Park.
The team is coached by Gil Roraback and assistant coach Rusty Foster. They feature four of the SBJ’s All Metro first-team members: Aiden Heard, Erin Campbell, Kiley Rourke and Madalyn Van Devender. Also on the roster are SBJ All-Metro “Best of the Rest” players Khiana Roraback, Cassie Campbell and Landry Jones. The team is also stacked with first and second team all-district team members from Caddo Magnet, Captain Shreve, Benton, Loyola and Byrd high schools.
The preliminaries this weekend, played in Lafayette, start Saturday at 2:30 p.m. send the locals against fourth-place Thibodaux, who they tied 2-2 on Feb. 26 in Thibodaux. On Sunday morning at 9, they play the No. 5 New Orleans Spartans, defeated 2-1 Oct. 17 at Cargil Park. They finish the round with a battle at 2:30 Sunday with second-seeded Baton Rouge Black, the seven-time reigning State Cup Champions, who notched a 2-0 win in a previous meeting Feb. 27 in Baton Rouge.
The top three teams from this round join Cajun Rush in the semifinals next Saturday in Baton Rouge, with the finals being played next Sunday.
The SU 04 boys Blue team, last year’s DII atate champions, finished DI State league play in fourth place with a 3-3 record (11-5-2 overall).
Coach Nick Flowers is extremely confident in this group, believing regardless of its fourth-place finish, can be one of the teams to fear this year. The team is filled with SBJ All Metro first-team members: player of the year Andrew Stuart, Andrew Clark, Dayne Reed, Declan Chmiewski, Logan Smith, Maximus Holt and keeper Michael Hamauel. Also on the roster are “Best of the Rest” players Collin Elston, Ethan Bihler, Jonathan Woldie and Patrick Gooszen.
The boys begin their preliminary round games Saturday, in Lafayette, at 11:15 a.m. against No. 5 Slidell Youth Soccer Club, which they defeated 5-0 on Oct. 10 in Slidell. They continue play Saturday at 4:45, meeting the winner of the play-in game between No. 6 Ascension Flight and No. 7 Covington Youth Soccer, which was played Thursday night. They defeated both teams in league play in the fall. Their final preliminary round game is Sunday against No. 3 Louisiana Fire Red at 11:15. LA Fire Red defeated the Shreveport team 2-0 Feb. 20 at Cargil Park.
The top two teams advance, joining No. 1 Baton Rouge Black and No. 2 Cajun Rush Academy, for the semifinals and finals next weekend.
The state champions qualify for regional play over the summer, with regional winners advancing to the USA Youth Soccer Nationals.
Photo by CHRISTY ROEMER