The St. Joseph’s Academy soccer team defeated Denham Springs 7-1 on January 22 to capture the district championship for the sixth consecutive year. Prior to the start of the contest, the team’s seniors were honored in a special ceremony.
Senior Taylor Blouin scored three goals on Senior Night, and fellow senior Gabby Barreneche added a score. Also contributing to the total were sophomore Olivia Hupperich, freshman Mary Melancon and junior Lark Smith.
Recognized for their contributions to the soccer program were Gabby Barreneche, Ashlan Belanger, Taylor Blouin, Corrine Hutchinson, Maddie Ieyoub, Hallie Legendre, Rhys Lopiparo, Andrea Matus and Grace Morrison. They were presented with soccer balls signed by their teammates, flowers, a blanket monogrammed with their number and a poster.
“From the beginning of the season, this group of seniors has created such a positive, encouraging environment,” said coach Stephanie Broussard. “They all come to every practice and game ready to give it their all and to help their teammates in any way they can. I am so proud of how they have breathed new life into this program with love of this sport.”
Barreneche, a three-year varsity letter winner, is the daughter of Amy and Alex Barreneche. “As my SJA soccer career comes to a close, I will never forget the incredibly strong bonds I have created with my coaches and teammates,” she said. “I will always remember Coach Stephanie’s motto, ‘Iron sharpens iron, as one man sharpens another.’ She stresses how important it is to be a reliable, selfless and respectful teammate because, as the quote says, teammates lift each other up and make one another stronger. I believe that because we live by this quote, we are able to succeed and really interact extremely well together. As cliché as it sounds, it truly is a bittersweet moment realizing my soccer season is coming to an end. I am so thankful for the lifelong friends I have made.”
Hutchinson is the daughter of Lauren and Cory Hutchinson. She has two varsity letters. “I am sad knowing that my SJA soccer career is coming to a close, but I am so thankful for all the memories I made with my team this year and in years past,” she said. “I am so grateful that I get to play alongside these girls who always keep a positive attitude on and off the field. I will always remember the laughs we shared at practice, the friendships I have made through the four years and the amazing love that the SJA soccer program has given me for the sport.”
Ieyoub, who has one varsity letter, is the daughter of Stephanie and Jonathan Ieyoub. “These years have flown by, and after the ceremony, it really hit me that this will be one of the last times I play for SJA,” she said. “On my four years on the team, it has truly been a humbling experience getting to know so many amazing girls and forming bonds that will last a lifetime.”
Legendre is the daughter of Jodie and Steve Legendre. She has two varsity letters. “Through my soccer career at SJA, I have gained an understanding of teamwork, dedication and perseverance,” she said. “The connections I have made with my teammates these past years will continue to influence my life. As a team, we have overcome obstacles by empowering each other on and off the field. Being part of this team has been an experience I will never forget. Although my SJA soccer career was cut short due to an injury, I will always appreciate the memories I have made and the lessons I have learned.”
Lopiparo, a three-year letter winner, is the daughter of Kathy and Chris Lopiparo. She was named to the All-District first team as a junior. “Senior Night was a very bittersweet experience,” she said. “I know my fellow seniors and I were very excited for the night, but we were all hit with the reality that soccer, as well as high school as a whole, will end for us soon. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we are very excited for what is to come in the future, but we are also sad to let go of the team we have called family for the past four years. Personally, whether on or off the field, Coach Steph has made such an impact on my life, and I will remember her and the role she has played in my life forever.”
Morrison is the daughter of Sarah and Shane Morrison. She has one varsity soccer letter. “Being a part of the SJA soccer team has been such a great experience for me,” she said. “I have created so many friendships and close bonds with all of my teammates over the past four years. I couldn’t imagine spending every Monday-Thursday playing soccer and representing SJA with anyone else. These have been some of the fastest four years of my life. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was an incoming freshman trying out for a spot on the team. I cannot believe my SJA soccer career is already coming to a close. I hadn’t really put into thought that Senior Night would be one of the last times I would play soccer with some of the best teammates wearing an SJA jersey. I’ll always remember the great experiences with my coaches and teammates that the SJA soccer program has provided me.”
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos courtesy of Alyssa Romero and Anna Enright Stucky