Panthers bow out after fast start

Oak Grove falls to St. Joseph Bishop LeBlond in Class 2 state quarterfinal

By The Examiner staff

Oak Grove was a fast starter in its Class 2 soccer state quarterfinal against St. Joseph Bishop LeBlond.

But unfortunately for the Panthers, that was it – and that was the end of their season.

All the scoring took place in the first 29 minutes as host St. Joseph Bishop LeBlond edged Oak Grove 2-1 Monday night.

Despite the loss, Panthers coach Zach Herzig was proud of what his team accomplished this season, coming within a win of the state final four after starting 3-10.

“We aren’t quarterfinal losers, we are district champs,” Herzig said after his Panthers finished the season with an 8-11 record after winning five straight before Monday’s loss. “I am so proud of what these boys accomplished this season.”

LeBlond scored just 45 seconds after the game started when senior forward Noah Stevenson intercepted an Oak Grove pass and touched the ball past Oak Grove goalkeeper Hagan Dyer and kicked it into the net.

The Panthers tied it about two minutes later when they drew a penalty kick. Gael Perez converted it for his 16th goal of the season and the tie.

Bishop LeBlond, though, received its own penalty kick in the 29th minute. Senior Luke Metcalf converted that to give the Golden Eagles the lead.

LeBlond limited Oak Grove’s chances after that and senior goalkeeper Jeffrie Johnston preserved the win.

The Golden Eagles, who last won a state championship with a Class 1 title in 2017, advance to Saturday’s state semifinal against St. Mary’s of St. Louis or Orchard Farm, which play today in their quarterfinal.