District 6-I rivals Jesuit and Grace King battled for the third time this season on Wednesday night, and it yielded a different result than the previous two matches.
Only this time, the teams fought to a scoreless draw at Joe Yenni Stadium.
“It was a great game, a really hard-fought game,” Jesuit coach Hubie Collins said. “I thought Grace King came out and played really, really well. We had probably three very good chances, and we just narrowly missed on them.
“Unfortunately, that’s soccer. I thought we battled hard.”
Grace King won the teams’ first meeting 2-1 at the St. Paul’s Invitational in December while Jesuit won the teams’ first district contest 1-0 a week ago. Jose Aleman had the game-winner about 15 minutes into the second half of that match.
On Wednesday, Grace King (12-5-1, 6-1-1) started fast in the first half putting two shots on goal in the first five minutes, but Jesuit slowly took control of possession from there.
In the 13th minute, Jesuit’s Aleman nearly scored as his shot went across the goal after a solid free kick to the far post. The Blue Jays threatened again in the 31st minute as another free kick went into the box and settled in front of the net before being cleared away to keep the game scoreless at halftime.
The match opened up in the second half as Aleman sent a powerful shot just wide in the opening five minutes.
“Both teams were playing with a lot of emotion and effort,” Collins said. “I thought we didn’t have a lot of time on the ball, but we created a couple of good chances in the second half early on. They just didn’t drop our way.”
Grace King generated some chances on set pieces including a nice header by Almedin Tursunovic off a corner that was saved in the 52nd minute. Minutes later, a no call on some contact in the box drew the dismay of the Irish fans.
District leading Jesuit (17-3-1, 8-0-1) continued its pressure in the final 20 minutes as Aleman sent a shot wide, and Cole Retif’s header was saved. The Blue Jays had a goal called off due to offsides in the 70th minute.
Grace King coach Raul Hernandez said his team played well against a top-ranked opponent.
“I’m pleased,” he said. “To tie 0-0 against a team like Jesuit when we’re attacking and not packing the box, it was a good result. Both teams were anxious to get a goal. We knew from the last game that one goal was going to decide the game. We had a chance, but we just didn’t get it. It was just a hard-fought game.”