Top-seeded Blue Jackets hold off pesky Crusaders

Moving on in playoffs

By CHRIS GIRANDOLA Times Correspondent
Published January 23, 2007

St. PETERSBURG - Admiral Farragut senior midfielder David Gans broke a scoreless tie with less than six minutes left in regulation to help the No. 1-seeded Blue Jackets escape with a 1-0 win over No. 4 seed Canterbury in the Class 2A, District 11 semifinals.

The Blue Jackets, who beat the host Crusaders 6-0 and 3-0 in the regular season, controlled the game at Knowlton Campus Field from beginning to end, outshooting Canterbury 23-2. But they struggled to solve Canterbury's defense, which often had six players on the back line, and junior goalie John Giles.

The Crusaders keeper made one sensational save after another until Gans took a long pass just outside the penalty box from AFA junior fullback Nick Noren and placed it past the diving Giles.

"Their defense really stepped up tonight and it frustrated us," said Gans, who scored his 16th goal of the season. "And their keeper made things difficult as well."

The Crusaders almost sent the game into overtime when Ryan Laurent rifled a shot from the right corner of the box with two minutes left, but Rendall Sanchez punched it away to preserve the win.

In the other semifinal, Shorecrest beat Northside Christian 3-0 behind the scoring of Stephen Spanos, Ben Sabol and Anthony Harris. AFA and Shorecrest, which split the season series, will meet in the championship on Thursday.

Today's schedule

Class 5A, District 9 at Pinellas Park: Tarpon Springs vs. Pinellas Park, 4. Largo vs. Clearwater, 6. East Lake vs. Dunedin, 8.

Class 2A, District 10 at Keswick Christian: Indian Rocks Christian vs. Keswick Christian, 7.