Jesuit, Gaither to square off

The teams reach the semis of the Admiral Invitational.

Published December 22, 2005

TAMPA - Undefeated Jesuit faces Gaither tonight at 7 in a much-anticipated semifinal in the Elite Bracket of the Admiral Invitational.

The host Tigers (16-0) crushed Jacksonville Bartram Trail 6-0 to win their pool. Earlier, Jesuit handed Satellite Beach-Satellite (13-1) its first loss of the season 4-0.

Gaither (10-1-1) took a more circuitous route to the semis. The Cowboys, ranked No. 2 in the country according to the Student Sports magazine Fab50 poll, lost 1-0 on penalty kicks in their afternoon match against Niceville and had to pour it on in a 4-0 evening win over Clearwater Central Catholic.

CCC (5-5-1) had topped Tallahassee Lincoln 1-0 on penalty kicks earlier and stood a chance of winning the pool outright if Gaither had not stepped up.

"Both (Niceville and CCC) packed it in against us," Gaither striker Korry Kubly said. "But we played a lot better against (CCC). We had a lot more movement, less dribbling, better two-touch passing."

Seminole also advanced to the Elite semifinals, winning its pool with a 2-1 victory over Tampa Prep and a 4-3 thriller against Melbourne. The Warhawks face San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine College Prep, which won on goal differential despite a 3-2 loss to Palm Harbor University. In the Premier Bracket, Countryside advanced to the semifinals with a 3-0 win over Bradenton Manatee following a 2-1 win over Lake Mary.

Countryside faces Lakeland George Jenkins at 6 p.m. in a rematch of last year's state semis. Jenkins won on goal differential over Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita Catholic and Alonso.

Jenkins crushed Santa Margarita 5-0 in an afternoon match. Alonso beat Jenkins 2-1 in the evening on the strength of a stellar goalkeeping performance from Nicholas Hall and goals from Akihiro Ishimine and Thomas Turke.

"This is probably the biggest win in the history of our program," Alonso coach Ray DiPompo said. "Anybody can play with anybody if they have the right frame of mind, and we did."

In the other Premier semifinal, Class 3A champion Auburndale faces Class 6A Hialeah American.