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Jesuit finally meets match

Brother Martin wins battle of penalty kicks, hands Tigers first loss.

By MIKE READLING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 21, 2001


TAMPA -- For the past month, Jesuit coach Bob Bauman has been telling his team it wasn't ready for what the Puma tournament was going to bring.

He told his Tigers they had to focus more during games, work on their fitness and, perhaps most important, come out ready to play from the first whistle.

He was saying this despite his team's 11-0-1 record entering the first round and had felt all along that most of his words were falling on deaf ears.

Thursday night at Ed Radice Park, Bauman's Tigers found out exactly what their coach was talking about.

Jesuit ran into Brother Martin, the defending Louisiana state champion, a team that was able to control not only the tempo of the game but the game itself. The result was Jesuit's first loss of the season 2-1 on penalty kicks.

"I'm disappointed," Bauman said. "I've told the team what they need to do to prepare for a game like this and the level of play they have to have from the first whistle and they didn't show that tonight.

"We'll see if this brings out our character and heart and if we can bounce back and become as good as we can possibly be. Or are we just going to go through the motions?"

Brother Martin used a fast-paced tempo to gain control of the game and took advantage of a Jesuit defensive lapse to gain the lead with 4 minutes remaining in the first half.

With 3 minutes left in the game, Jesuit's Garth Juckem tied it up, bouncing a crossing pass off a defender into the net to set up penalty kicks.

With the teams tied in the fifth round, Jesuit's Adam Thames pushed his shot off the left post. All Brother Martin needed was for Andrew Cassara to bury one for the win. The shot went wide right.

Jesuit's next shot was saved by keeper Anthony Rezza, but the Crusaders' potential winning kick went off the crossbar, bringing on Round 7.

But Jonathan Hokes hit his wide right and Brother Martin's Christopher Eastin stuck his shot in the left side for the win.

Jesuit's loss means there will be no rematch of last year's Elite bracket final with Gaither.

The Cowboys were the only local team to earn a win, defeating El Camino (Calif.) 1-0 thanks to Paul Reynolds' upper-corner, far-post shot from about 30 yards in the 45th minute.

Gaither (7-2) will play Miami Sunset today at 1 p.m. in a rematch of last year's state semifinal, which the Cowboys won 2-1 in overtime.

"That was a big-time goal by Paul Reynolds," Gaither coach Eric Sims said. "I told him at halftime he had to step it up. I've never seen such a dynamic change in a player from one half to the next. He played so bad in the first half and so well in the second half."

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