By JEREMY RASMUSSEN
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 21, 2001
TAMPA -- All four Bay area teams dropped into the consolation round after their opening matches Thursday at Ed Radice Park and Berkeley Prep.
Clearwater Central Catholic lost 2-1 to Bellarmine (Calif.) College Prep, Brandon lost 4-0 to Houston Strake Jesuit, Berkeley Prep lost 4-1 to Nogales (Calif.) and Tampa Catholic fell 2-0 to Oviedo.
CCC found itself matched with unbeaten Bellarmine, ranked No. 3 nationally in the Student Sports Magazine poll.
CCC (10-2) took a 1-0 lead early when Pat Beliveau headed a ball to Joey Ijjas for the finish. The Bells (9-0) answered midway through the second half as McKenzie Plank headed in a corner from Nick Hatzke, and Mario Cordero finished the scoring on another assist from Hatzke with 10 minutes left.
CCC coach Jim Harte credited his team's offensive pressure in the first half with the early goal. But it couldn't keep it up the whole game.
"We weren't trying to sit on (the lead)," he said. "To be honest, I think we got a little tired.
"We were very successful taking their game away from them in the first half. If the game had been 50 minutes long, we might have won."
Brandon earned some respect in last year's tournament with an opening-round win against top-ranked Flagler Palm Coast.
This year, the much younger Eagles weren't ready for the challenge.
Brandon (9-2) couldn't muster much offense against Strake Jesuit. Leading scorers Jason Poole (15 goals) and Michael Guess (11) were held to two shots. The Crusaders (9-1-1) outshot the Eagles 17-7.
Heading into Thursday's game, the Eagles' defense had given up just five goals in 10 games.
"I don't want to take anything away from them, because they're a good team, but we basically gave them three of those goals," Brandon coach Allen Ware said.
Co-host Berkeley Prep went down 2-0 early against Nogales but rallied to make it 2-1 in the second half before the Nobles pulled away.