By JEREMY RASMUSSEN
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001
TAMPA -- Jesuit has made a home in the state final, reaching it in each of the past six years and winning four times.
Now the Tigers will make a seventh consecutive appearance thanks to Thursday's 2-1 win over Gulf Breeze in the Class 2A semifinal at Pepin/Rood Stadium.
"Now we want to do what we didn't do last year," said Eric Grzybowski, who scored the game-winner.
Last year, Jesuit reached the final only to lose 3-1 to Orlando Bishop Moore.
Jesuit (29-2) wasted no time. Just 48 seconds into the game, John Kluft stole a ball above the penalty box and passed to Dylan Haggerty for the finish.
Gulf Breeze (25-5) responded with pressure of its own. Robert McLendon, Randall Sansom, and Kevin White had good chances before Jarret Venn finished. He collected a loose ball off of a corner kick and put it away in the eighth minute.
There were fewer chances during the rest of the first half. But just before halftime, Jesuit's Ron Guevara took a ball at midfield and sprinted about 30 yards past several defenders. He passed to Grzybowski, who finished just inside the right post for a 2-1 halftime lead.
In the 52nd minute, Jesuit had a chance to go up 3-1 when Haggerty was taken down in the penalty box, but Jon Petrie made a diving save on Grzybowski's shot toward the left post.
Four minutes later, Jesuit goalie Justin Trowbridge tipped a hard shot by White over the crossbar. Trowbridge was a surprise starter. He had been diagnosed with mononucleosis but was cleared to play.
"It meant a lot to have (Trowbridge) back," Jesuit coach Bob Bauman said. "It meant that we could play our own game. We were less tentative. We weren't afraid to make mistakes."
The Tigers will not get a chance to avenge last year's loss to Bishop Moore because the Hornets lost 1-0 to Riviera Beach Suncoast (15-5-2) in Thursday's other semifinal. Saturday's final is at 1 p.m.