Sixty-three minutes in, Grace King was already finished.
Jesuit forward Dillon Fuchs had just doubled his effort — the Blue Jays’ third score — solidifying what was a 3-0 victory against Grace King at John Ryan Stadium two weeks ago.
Thursday night’s Division I regional boys soccer playoff, however, unfolded differently.
Jesuit (19-4-4) squandered four scoring chances. Grace King (20-6-2) generated even fewer shot attempts, protecting a scoreless match 77 minutes in before Jesuit’s Chase Rushing ended the drought.
The forward rebounded a free kick and buried it — along with the Fighting Irish’s chances — into the net to lift the Blue Jays to a 1-0 win at John Ryan Stadium.
“Just a kicked ball there following the free kick from Jack (LaForge),” Rushing said. “The ball got knocked around there in the box, and I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time.”
Said Grace King coach Raul Hernandez: “It was a miscue. We couldn’t clear the ball out. Our defender cleared it back into the PK area, and they capitalized on their chance to score. We should have had a better clearance on the ball, but unfortunately it just didn’t happen.”
The victory clinches a berth into the quarterfinals against Catholic League rival Brother Martin, whom Jesuit defeated once and played to a draw in the season series.
“I thought we were a little slow to catch up to the pace. We had three very good chances that just didn’t fall our way out there,” Blue Jays coach Hubie Collins said.
“But Grace King defended hard, they played hard, they were aggressive and made it difficult for us.
“They were very intent with their challenges, and we need to work more on our movement off the ball and getting more open. I think we were a little static in that regard. They had numbers, too. They were five deep across the back with four in front to try to counter attack.”
That contained Jesuit. Though the Blue Jays controlled possession for much of the second half, few openings presented themselves.
“I think we were a little complacent tonight, to be honest with you,” Rushing said.
“Maybe we thought we could just go into there and beat them because of what happened the first time around, but that obviously wasn’t the case.
“They’re a great team, and we didn’t come out as ready as we should have. I can tell you one thing, though: if we come out and play like that against Brother Martin, there’s no shot we win. Our guys know that.”