Jays Sleepwalk Through a 2-1 Win as Soccer Season Kicks Off
Jesuit Downs Rummel in a Non-District Contest
Into the Lens: View the Jesuit – Rummel Soccer Photo Gallery
The 2016-17 soccer season is officially underway with the Blue Jays eeking out their first win, a lazy 2-1 decision over Rummel last Saturday (November 19) on the Raiders’ windswept home field.
With a strong wind to the backs of the Jays, senior Hunt Navar struck Jesuit’s first goal at the nine-minute mark of the first half. Fifteen minutes later, senior Chris Cuomo headed the ball into the net to give the Jays a 2-0 lead at halftime. Playing the second half against the wind, the Jays tried to sit on their lead and defend their goal. It almost worked, that is until the Raiders converted a corner kick, popping the ricocheting ball past senior goalie Reese Leonhard with a long five minutes left in the match. Suddenly a 2-0 lead is a 2-1 lead.
Coaches and athletic directors of the various schools whose soccer teams comprise District 9-5A decided for a second consecutive season to play each other just once instead of twice. The District 9-5A teams are Bonnabel, Brother Martin, Chalmette, John Ehret, Grace King, L.W. Higgins, Rummel, and of course, Jesuit.
However, Jesuit, Brother Martin, and Rummel were joined by Jefferson Parish public school Grace King in deciding to play each other twice with the caveat that only one of the two matches would count in the district standings. One of the two matches would be officially recorded as a non-district game.
It was agreed that this first Jesuit-Rummel match would not count in the district standings. The one that counts will be played Saturday, January 14, at John Ryan Stadium with kickoff at 12:30 p.m.
“In the first half, we played some good style soccer and created some good chances and scored a couple of goals,” said head Coach Hubie Collins. “We weren’t really under any pressure. But we knew that in the second half with the wind it would be a lot more difficult and a different game for us. In fairness to Rummel, as the game went on into the second half, they grew a little stronger and a little more confident and they got a few corners and set pieces. They were able to score a goal late in the game. We were a little disappointed that we were not able to create some quality goal scoring chances in the second half. I think from the players’ perspective they realized that they have to play harder through the second half to make sure the game is secure before we think that we can drop our guard and make it a cakewalk.”
Coach Collins was upset that his players did not push hard to get three or four goals that would have secured the game.
“When the game is 2-0, one goal either way can change the game significantly,” said Collins. “One goal for us makes it 3-0, one goal for them makes it 2-1, and that’s a big difference in the game.”
Last season, Jesuit got knocked out in the quarterfinals by Catholic High of Baton Rouge. It was the first time in 28 years that the soccer Jays failed to advance as one of the four teams in the semifinals.
What about the 2016-17 season?
“We are certainly a long way from even thinking about the playoffs,” said Coach Collins. “Right now what we’re looking to do is to try to find a good team chemistry, a good team bonding, and form a good unit. We have a great, talented squad. We have a mixture of sophomore, juniors, and seniors with a tremendous amount of ability at all of the positions. What we’re looking to do is to understand how we play, find a rhythm to play, a speed to play, and trust in each other to develop a good team bond. So far we’re on par for that.”
There were about half a dozen Blue Jays — many of them starters Coach Collins will be counting on this season as “big contributors, big factors” — who missed the game because they had prior commitments out of town, players like seniors Vincent Baumer and Chris Pitre, juniors Braden Brignac and Christian de Gracia, and sophomore Jacob Torres.
“Missing them certainly, but it gave an opportunity for the guys who were here to step up and show their game,” said Coach Collins. “I thought some of them performed really, really well, and they’ll be pushing for starting spots in the future.”
Thanksgiving Week usually marks the start of tournament play and this season is no different. The day after Thanksgiving (Friday, November 25), the Blue Jays leave early for Baton Rouge and the BOSH Tournament — Brothers of the Sacred Heart — where they will encounter the 2015 Division 1 state champions in Catholic High. The match between the Jays and the Bears gets underway at 11 a.m. at the Lakes 1 Field. At 3 p.m. on Friday, the Jays play E.D. White on the same field. The second day of the tournament (Saturday, November 26) has the Jays playing a 3 p.m. match against St. Louis Catholic, again on the same field.
Jesuit’s first home match of the 2016 season takes place at John Ryan Stadium on Wednesday, November 30. The Jays and the Falcons of Ben Franklin kick off at 7 p.m.
Two days after the Franklin match, the Jays travel east and a little north to play three games in the Mississippi Showcase of Soccer scheduled for Friday, December 2, and Saturday, December 3. Following the Showcase tournament, the Jays return to the Ryan and welcome Holy Cross for a 6:30 p.m. match on Wednesday, December 7. St. Stanislaus comes to the Ryan for a noon match on Saturday, December 10. At the end of exam week (December 13-16), the Jays cross the lake to play a ferocious five-game schedule in the St. Paul’s Holiday Tournament, the championship game to be played on Monday, December 19 and hopefully featuring the Blue & White. After a non-district game against Mandeville on Wednesday, December 21 at 1 p.m. at the Skippers’ field, the Jays will be off for Christmas and New Year’s.
District games will start after the first of the year with the John Ehret Patriots coming to the Ryan on Tuesday, January 3, at 5 p.m. The varsity schedule for January has the Jays typically playing matches on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The final match of the regular season takes place at Vandebilt (Houma) on Monday, January 30 at 6:30 p.m.