No. 15-seeded Jesuit scored twice in the first half and didn’t look back in defeating No. 18 Barbe 2-0 in a Division I bidistrict playoff game.
Senior Braden Brignac struck first for the Blue Jays on a corner kick in the fourth minute of the first half.
Junior Jacques Gaudet scored again on a rebound off the Barbe goalie in the 17th minute later in the half.
After that, Jesuit controlled the game with its stellar defense. That defense is something center back Christian De Grazia said helps generate offense.
“Jesuit most of the time is a very defensive team, especially this year," De Grazia said. "So, I think defensively we’re very strong. Distributing from the back is always Jesuit’s strong suit.”
Coach Hubert Collins said despite the team’s defensive performance, he hoped to convert more scoring chances.
“I think we limited them to a couple of long-range free kicks, so they never really broke us down or created any good goal scoring opportunities,” Collins said. “I was very happy with the number of goal scoring opportunities that we created, we’ve just got to be a little sharper in our finish and around the goal.”
Collins said the win gives the Blue Jays momentum as they advance to the regional round against No. 2 Catholic of Baton Rouge, who they played twice earlier this season. Catholic won the first game 1-0 in November and the two teams tied 0-0 in the second meeting in January.
“I think it gives us a bit of an insight in regards to the style of play and how they play," Collins said. "Of course, into the playoffs, you never know how a team can change their tactics a little bit on us. So, we certainly respect our opponents in the next round — Catholic Baton Rouge and we look forward to playing them next week.”
Brignac couldn’t hide his excitement for getting the chance to play the Bears a third time.
“I’m ecstatic," he said. "They’ve been ranked No. 2 basically all season since they beat us, so we’re happy to get another chance at them."
Barbe coach Curtis Stewart said he was pleased with the progress of the program from just a few seasons ago.
“Two to three years ago, the program wasn’t making the playoffs," Stewart said, "so I think each year we’ve made it, we keep making strides.
"We had some great wins, played some great competition and I think we showed that we can play with some of the top competition.”