Reset. Start over. Clean slate.
That’s what Fat Tuesday represented. Specifically for Brother Martin.
In the regular season, Catholic League rival Jesuit toppled the Crusaders’ District 9 championship aspirations, triumphing 2-1 at Farley Field via a Dillon Fuchs-converted set piece 55 minutes in. But a Division I semifinals affair on Mardi Gras day offered No. 6 Brother Martin (13-3-4) redemption. It presented them a chance to permanently stash the disappointment in the rearview mirror and seek revenge by ousting the Blue Jays from the postseason.
No. 3 Jesuit (19-0-4) and Jose Aleman denied that opportunity.
The Blue Jays forward buried the final kick of a 0-0 match into the bottom corner as Jesuit outlasted the Crusaders in penalty kicks (4-3) to clinch a semifinals berth.
“It’s indescribable, really, in some ways,” Jesuit coach Hubie Collins said.
“It’s been a great spectacle. It was end to end. There was plenty of action and excitement throughout. What more drama could you ask for going into penalty kicks, and we’re delighted to have this result.”
Jesuit travels to No. 2 Acadiana Saturday.
“At the end of the day, when you have two well-matched teams like there was, it’s going to come down to a critical moment — the critical moment being PKs this time,” Brother Martin coach Stephen McAnespie said.
It surely wasn’t due to a lack of chances. Brother Martin and Jesuit created a plethora of chances to seal the match in regulation, overtime and the sudden-death golden-goal period. But, both squandered opportunities — most commonly the ball ricocheting somewhere off the post out of play.
That happened five times, which aided in extending the match into penalty kicks.
Collins issued some advice before the penalty kicks: “Before you go up, have your decision made on where you want to put it, what you want to do. Jog up to the ball so you don’t have a chance to change your mind, and get up and do what you’ve rehearsed in practice.”
The Blue Jays heeded that message.
Jack LaForge converted. So did Patrick LaCour and Christopher Pitre before Aleman propelled them.
“I was praying,” Aleman said of his approach.
Jesuit goalkeeper Otto Candies tried something else.
“I tried to get in their heads and just psych them out,” he said. “I varied from kick to kick, but I tried to talk to the kickers, stare them down and walk back slowly. Make them overthink it because all the pressure is on the kick taker. If the keeper makes a saves, hats off to them.”
Brother Martin sent one wide right and lifted one over the post.
“Today, they went from kids to young men. No doubt about that,” Collins said. “They learned a lot from that moment. They learned a lot about themselves. But all credit to Brother Martin. They played a fantastic game.”