The LHSAA online archives do not extend back far enough to show the last time the Jesuit soccer team failed to reach the semifinals of the playoffs, and coach Hubie Collins can’t remember either.
The Blue Jays have reached the penultimate game of the postseason for at least 13 consecutive seasons.
The streak ended Tuesday night.
No. 12 Catholic High-Baton Rouge defeated the perennial powerhouse No. 4 Blue Jays 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the boys Division I soccer playoffs.
“All streaks come to an end at some stage,” Collins said. “We obviously weren’t planning on the streak coming to an end tonight. We were prepared for this game, but it just wasn’t to be. I feel disappointed for the players.”
Not only did Jesuit fail to score in a game for only the third time this season, but it took the Blue Jays until the 74th minute to take their first shot, despite dominating possession for the majority of the game.
The Blue Jays finished with four shots, none of which were on frame.
Collins said his team wasn’t creative enough in the first half to put anything on frame, allowing Catholic to control the back third of the field.
Catholic coach Josh McReynolds said his defense played about as well as he could expect Tuesday, relying on a “bend but don’t break” mindset.
“They were pressing, and we were just trying to find the right moment for us to spring forward,” McReynolds said. “We knew they were going to go through No. 4 (Jesuit senior Micahel Pou), and once they give up a little space in their half, we can get a hold of the ball and exploit those chances.”
Catholic scored its first goal in the 47th minute on a penalty kick by senior Michael Focht after a handball in the penalty box.
Focht’s original shot was blocked by Jesuit goalkeeper Shane Lanson, but Focht followed up on the rebound.
“I was pretty nervous about it, but I was just happy I was able to get a rebound and the ball bounced right back to me,” Focht said. “There was a little bit (of panic) as soon as he saved it, but then I saw it was right in front of the goal.”
Catholic put the finishing touches on the game in the 66th minute when junior Max Trapp made a back-side run onto a pass from senior captain Matthew Morales and put it in the net.
But even with a two-goal deficit, Collins was hopeful Jesuit could pull out a win.
“I kind of felt that if we had gotten a goal, it would lift our spirits, it would get the adrenaline going in us a little bit and given us something to chase after,” Collins said. “We had a couple of half chances in the 70 to 75 minute, and if we had gotten one of those and pulled it back to 2-1, who knows?”
Catholic moves on to play at defending state champion and No. 1 seed St. Paul’s in the semifinals.