EUNICE, La. --- The No. 16 Holmes Community College Lady Bulldogs' history-making season continued Friday in the Region XXIII Championship Game here as the Holmes knocked off No. 11 LSU-Eunice, 1-0, for the title and to keep the season going.
With the win, the Lady Bulldogs improved to 18-2 after claiming the MACJC State Championship on Tuesday and the Region championship yesterday. Holmes will host either Tyler or Navarro next weekend in Ridgeland at Freedom Ridge in the District Championship. Tyler and Navarro each won their semi-finals Friday and are battling for their Region title Sunday. The time for the match has not been decided.
Neither team was able to score in the first half even though both squads had their chances at goals. In the 82nd minute, Cariel Ellis took the ball straight to the LSU-E defenders and was able to get two shots off before the second one fell giving Holmes the 1-0 lead. The Lady Bulldogs defended well the final eight minutes of the match to keep LSU-E off the scoreboard.
"It's a great accomplishment for the girls," Associate Head Coach Wesley Noble said. "They set it as one their goals for the season. We knew it was going to be tough playing against a really good LSUE team. The girls were a little tired from the quick turnaround (state title game), but they just battled. They fought hard for 90 minutes, and I couldn't be any more proud of them for what they've done so far."
As for the scoring play, Noble said. "They have two really good center backs and did a really great job defending her (Ellis) both times we played them," he said. "I just told her to keep going and keep pushing and something was going to happen. She put the ball away, and that's what she does. That's why she's one of the top scorers in the country and the leading scorer in our region."
"I feel absolutely ecstatic," Head Coach Matt Convertino said. "It was a fantastic game. We knew that LSU-E had great players, and they showed up to play. It was a battle throughout. Our players didn't give up and continued to battle, and we got the results.
"We talked to the players at halftime about the surface, and it was going to be a mistake on someone's part that was going to create a goal," he said of Ellis' goal. "Sure enough the ball start bouncing around, and Cariel didn't quit on it. The whole team didn't quit on it, and they were able to put it in the back of the net."
"We just worked hard, and we knew we had in the bag and continued to work and play together as a team," Ellis said of the state championship victory earlier in the week. "I'm glad we made history by winning the region championship. I'm just lost for words because I'm really happy about it.
"I didn't give up on the play," she said of the game-winning goal. "I just kept running. I knew if I just didn't stop it would go somewhere so I just kept going and didn't give up. I'm glad our season is still going, and I have more time with these girls because they are the best group of girls."
Coach Convertino was named Coach of the Year following the match as well.