Third-ranked Jesuit took its first step toward another state soccer championship on Friday night.
The Blue Jays exited John Ryan Stadium with a 3-0 shutout of 30th-seeded John Ehret in a Division I bidistrict soccer playoff match.
Christopher Pitre scored during the match’s opening minute, and Patrick Rye added a goal in the 11th minute.
After halftime, Hunt Navar helped the Blue Jays further capitalize on Ehret’s slow start with a final goal.
“We played with a lot of intensity, came out sharp and got another goal real quick,” Navar said. “They put their heads down (after Jesuit’s first goal), and we were able to get another one.”
Advancing through the Division I playoffs takes talent, something Jesuit is aware of — some members of its senior class were around for state title campaigns in 2012-13. But it also takes timing. One missed goal or errant pass could decide the season’s fate.
An example is last season’s 2-0 loss to eventual state champion St. Paul’s in the state semifinals.
“You might only have one chance a game to put it away, or it could send us home,” said Pitre, a sophomore midfielder.
Jesuit controlled the tempo, especially in the first half, but was unable to complete scoring opportunities, something it won’t want to repeat as the playoffs continue.
“We were creating chances when we were only one ahead,” Jesuit coach Hubie Collins said. “We didn’t find the back of the net (late in the first half), but we did hit crossbar three times, and I thought their goalkeeper came up with a couple of nice plays.
“We wanted to be patient, be consistent, be alert and a little bit more clinical around the 18-yard box.”
With the win, Jesuit improved to 19-4-4, and now waits to play the winner of Saturday’s match between 14th-seeded Grace King and 19th-seeded Central Lafourche.
On Jan. 28, junior forward Dillon Fuchs scored twice during Jesuit’s 3-0 nondistrict win against Grace King. Three days later, Jesuit’s playoff tune-ups continued with a 4-1 win against Newman.
Ehret (14-6-2), which loses two starting seniors, has reached the playoffs each of the past three seasons. Low seeding has forced the Patriots to play top-five seeds.
Expected returnees for 2015-16 include junior forward Edwardo Garcia (32 goals).
“The first goal (allowed) was more nervous mistakes that cost us and in the second half we did the same thing,” Ehret coach Wilmer Rivas said. “But I thought we were competitive. We stepped up. We’ll be back next year.”