by Joseph Petz // GeauxPreps.com Contributor
The Northshore area seems to be a hotbed of soccer talent and routinely supports several championship-quality teams across multiple divisions with St. Paul’s, Pope John Paul II, and Northlake all appearing in and winning titles over the last 5 years.
Mandeville, Northshore, Lakeshore and St. Thomas Aquinas also serve as playoff contenders each season. We’ll take a look back at pre-season results as well as preview opening matches as the regular season kicks off this week.
St. Paul’s is always in the hunt for the championship and this year is no different as it looks to return to the top after a “down year” that saw an exit in the semifinals. Mandeville will be hot on the heels of their private school rivals and, in my opinion, will give them a good run for their money this year for district honors. Northshore and Fontainebleau have outside shots at making a run for the district and should be firmly in the top 20 come playoff time. Covington, Ponchatoula, Slidell, and Hammond will all be fighting for a playoff berth.
St. Paul’s- Pre-season results: T 0-0 vs. Catholic BR. Week 1 games: Brother Martin Tournament- Bonnabel, Brother Martin, Grace King.
Mandeville- Pre-season results: W 5-0 vs De La Salle, W 3-0 vs. St. Thomas Aquinas. Week 1 games: @ East Jefferson, vs. NOMMA, Covington Tournament at the weekend.
Northshore- Pre-season results: L 3-0 vs. Rummel, W 4-1 vs. Zachary. Week 1 games: vs. Dutchtown, @ Acadiana.
Fontainebleau- Week 1 games: @ Pearl River, vs. Central BR.
Slidell- Pre-season results: L 5-0 vs. Rummel. Week 1 games: vs. Christ Episcopal, vs. International HS of New Orleans.
Covington- Pre-season results: T 1-1 vs. St. Thomas Aquinas. Week 1 games: @ Christ Episcopal, @ Pearl River, Covington Tournament at the weekend.
Ponchatoula- Pre-season results: L 6-1 vs. Hannan, L 2-0 vs. Baton Rouge Magnet. Week 1 games: @ Kenner Discovery, @ St. Amant.
Hammond: Pre-season results: W 3-0 vs. Broadmoor. Week 1 games: vs. Bonnabel, Covington Tournament at the weekend.
Lakeshore hopes to improve on a second-round exit from last year and should be able to do so with the return of several players from last year’s team including a few all-state freshman selections. In order to claim district honors, however, they will have to go through a very tough Holy Cross team.
Lakeshore- No games in week 1.
Archbishop Hannan enjoyed its deepest playoff run in program history last year before bowing out to eventual champion University High in the quarterfinals. They will look to be back in the mix again this year and should be the favorite to win their district. Pearl River may be able to slip into the playoffs if they can improve from a rebuilding campaign last year.
Hannan- Pre-season results: L 6-0 vs. Biloxi, W 6-1 vs. Ponchatoula. Week 1 games: vs. St. Amant, @ St. Thomas Aquinas.
Pearl River- Week 1 games: vs. Fontainebleau, vs. Covington.
Northlake Christian, Pope John Paul II and St. Thomas Aquinas will all believe they have a chance at topping the district and making deep runs in the playoffs this year. This should be one of the toughest districts in the division as all three teams routinely finish inside the top 10 while Northlake and Pope John Paul have advanced to and won championship matches over the last five years. Christ Episcopal looks to make a return to the postseason after a disappointing finish last year.
Pope John Paul II- No games Week 1.
Northlake Christian- No games Week 1.
St. Thomas Aquinas- Pre-season results: T 1-1 vs. Covington, L 3-0 vs. Mandeville. Week 1 games: vs. Live Oak, vs. Hannan.
Christ Episcopal- Week 1 games: @ Slidell, vs. Covington.