Opportunities were abundant for Jesuit’ soccer team in a 1-0 win over Holy Cross.
Controlling possession, the Division I, District 9-leading Blue Jays consistently pressured the Tigers’ back line, creating as many as eight scoring chances via set pieces, crosses and rebound attempts in the first half.
None of them, however, pierced the net — let alone found the target.
Three shots sailed wide. The other five inside-the-box attempts rocketed over the post.
“The conditions were the X factor,” Blue Jays coach Hubie Collins said. “Both teams were battling winds of 35 mph that really altered passes and most of the shots. The wind even got much stronger in the second half.”
Seventy-three minutes in, though, Jesuit’s luck turned.
Senior midfielder Patrick LaCour corralled a loose ball before burying a left-footed shot into the far left post, sealing a victory for Jesuit on Wednesday night at John Ryan Stadium.
“We put balls in dangerous places most of the match, so it was a matter of staying patient and not getting frustrated,” Collins said. “When another good chance presented itself very late, Patrick capitalized with a nice shot to put us ahead.”
Until that point, Holy Cross’ defense stymied the Blue Jays (11-4-2). The Tigers (1-8-4) crammed several defenders in the back half with two forwards racing up the pitch on the counter attack.
“Our team committed itself to the defensive end,” Holy Cross coach Matt Millet said. “We tried to stay compact, organized and eliminate space against a good team with some very good players because it’s difficult to break down.”
Though Holy Cross’ tactics were successful much of the match, its attack suffered. The Tigers managed two shots the entire second half — three total — to Jesuit’s 15 attempts.
“Each team poses its own challenges, and Holy Cross definitely tested us, so it was a good learning experience for us for other teams moving forward that may employ this strategy,” Collins said. “The boys played smart, and although we missed plenty of opportunities, made one when it mattered.”