When Catholic League rivals Jesuit and Brother Martin meet in any sport, it’s a noteworthy affair.
That is certainly the case in soccer.
Such was the case again Friday evening when the Blue Jays hosted the Crusaders at John Ryan Field. Jesuit, the state’s No. 3 ranked Division I team, took the lead against Brother Martin in the 43rd minute, and seemed to have the match in hand in the final moments.
But fifth-ranked Brother Martin tied the match in the 77th minute and forced a 1-1 tie. That’s how the Division I, District 9 match ended as district coaches decided unanimously before the season began that all district matches would be played without overtime.
Chase Rushing scored the goal for Jesuit (11-4-3, 4-0-1 in district) when he drove into the Martin box during the 43rd minute and drew goalie Thomas Peters out of the net. The Crusaders defenders jammed the box immediately after, but Rushing was able to thread a shot from an extremely tight angle on the right side. The shot deflected off of Peters’ hand and rolled into the back of the net to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead.
Not to be outdone, the Crusaders (6-1-4, 3-0-2) played a close match and finally found a goal of their own. That came when William Thiele scored on assist headed to his feet by Austin Bourgeois.
Brother Martin coach Stephen McAnespie said neither team would have been pleased with a blowout win, and expected Friday’s match to be closely contested.
“It doesn’t matter when you score, just that you do,” McAnespie said. “I think the overall balance of the game was good. Neither team should have won this one going away.”
“We don’t give up,” he said. “We’re going to play until the last minute.”
The teams vied for possession during the first 10 minutes of the match, with both teams taking one shot on goal in that span. The best play came in the 10th minute when Brother Martin’s Blake Robbins received a pass in the right corner of the Jesuit box and knocked a shot toward the near post. Blue Jays’ goalie Otto Candies made a dynamic sliding save on the shot, however, and the match remained scoreless.
Jesuit outshot Brother Martin 5-1 in the first half, but couldn’t find the net. The Blue Jays’ best chance came in the final seconds before halftime when Dillon Fuchs collected a pass about five yards from the Crusaders’ goal. His shot was hit cleanly, but it traveled directly into Peters’ arms for the save.
Brother Martin came out firing in the second half, with Miles Francis pounding a shot from close range in the first 30 seconds of the half. The ball was wide left however, but did result in a corner kick for the Crusaders. That ball was cleared by Jesuit, but Thiele’s tying shot, of course, was not.
Blue Jays coach Hubie Collins said his team has yet to beat Brother Martin in a district match since Ryan Field opened three years ago. He wasn’t disappointed with his team’s effort against the Crusaders, but said a good team will find ways to score, even if in the final seconds.
“I think we had the majority of the plays ... but we look at it as a learning curve,” Collins said. “This will make us stronger.”