tampabay.com

Boys soccer: 5A-10

The Tigers take out defending champion Hillsborough 4-0 and move on to face Plant today.

By JOE SMITH
Published January 26, 2008


TAMPA - For his highlight-reel goal Friday night, Jesuit senior Ali Van Gurp reverted to his volleyball roots.

The 5-foot-9 forward stopped just inside the Hillsborough 18, soared and deflected a booming cross from defender Brad Sharp under the crossbar. Van Gurp called it merely an inadvertent "flick," akin to a set he said he made many times competing nationally for his native Virgin Islands volleyball team.

"I'm not gonna lie - I wasn't trying to shoot," Van Gurp said with a grin. "But if it happens, it happens."

Van Gurp racked up three first-half goals as the Tigers made it look easy in their 4-0 Class 5A, District 10 semifinal win over defending champion Hillsborough. The Tigers (23-2) play at 3 p.m. today for their 19th district title in the past 21 years. They'll take on Plant, which beat host Leto in a 3-2 thriller.

Jesuit outscored district opponents 60-1 this season, including a 3-0 win over Plant.

"The joke between all the district coaches," Leto coach Scott Vomacka said, "is that we're all playing for second place."

Plant earned its second shot at Jesuit largely thanks to its brother combination of Will and Josh Munch.

Josh Munch, a sophomore, punched in a goal (his third in two days) late in the first half to break a 1-1 tie. Then, early in the second half, he found older brother Will for a much-needed insurance goal. Panthers senior goalkeeper Kyle Henson (eight saves) was spectacular, holding off a fierce second-half rally by Leto. The Falcons' best chance came with nine minutes left, when a shot from 6 yards out sailed over a wide-open net.

"It was a great shot," Henson said. "Just bad luck."