Jesuit soccer team blanks Grace King _lowres

Advocate staff photo by Rusty Costanza -- Jesuit's Michael Pou, left, kicks the ball through the legs of Grace King's Sammi Chaar on Wednesday at John Ryan Stadium in Metairie.

The Jesuit soccer team already has clinched a district championship. Grace King is only one win removed from doing the same.

On Wednesday night in a nondistrict game, the two Division I stalwarts met in a playoff tuneup.

Advantage: Jesuit.

The Blue Jays gained early momentum by scoring two first-half goals to defeat the Irish 3-0 at John Ryan Field just off Airline Highway near New Orleans.

Grace King (18-5-2) came out strong in the first half with two shots on goal in the first eight minutes, but neither found the mark.

Jesuit (16-4-2) answered with a close-range header in the 12th minute by Chase Rushing. Irish goalkeeper Joseph Marino dove to his right to thwart the attempt, however, and the game remained scoreless.

The Blue Jays got on the board in the 24th minute when Dillon Fuchs drove a shot into the King goal.

The shot seemed to spark Jesuit’s offense. Less than a minute later, Christopher Pitre drove the center of the King box and bumped a shot to the back of the box to give Jesuit a 2-0 lead. Fuchs scored again in the 63rd minute to push Jesuit’s lead to 3-0.

The Blue Jays outshot King 7-4 in the match.

“I feel like I’m doing a lot better job of picking my chances and putting things in the corners,” Fuchs said.

“Those goals were nice for our confidence (in the first half) , but I felt like we could have carried on and done more. We’re almost there. We’re almost in playoff shape.”

Jesuit coach Hubie Collins agreed, saying his team played well, but has some room for improvement entering the rapidly approaching postseason.

“I thought we came out in the first 10 minutes or so in the mind frame that we had just won the district championship,” Collins said. “So King gave us a few hairy scares until we created our own things and kind of took over our own shots.”

“I think there is always room for improvement, and we have the purpose to get better,” he said. “That’s what great about coaching these young men is that they have the same desire to get better.”