At Soccer Alumni Reunion, State Champs from 1995 and 2005 Recognized
Under the Wally Pontiff, Jr. Pavilion at John Ryan Stadium, the moisture hung in the air and clung to the cement floor last Saturday (January 3, 2015). Clouds brought intermittent mist and showers before giving way to sun, which started to heat things up.
In other words, a perfect day to celebrate Blue Jay soccer. Alumni who played soccer gathered under the Pontiff Pavilion prior to the start of the Jesuit – Shaw match. They enjoyed a feast of food, including (quite fittingly) king cakes galore, courtesy of Jesuit’s alumni and athletic offices.
“One reason for this homecoming was to foster a connection between today’s Blue Jay soccer program and the soccer programs on which today’s program was built,” said Jesuit alumni director Mat Grau ’68. “It also was an appropriate occasion to recognize two outstanding Jesuit soccer teams from the past on the occasion of their special anniversaries: the 1995 team, which is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its state championship, and the 2005 team, which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its state title.”
The 1995 Jesuit Soccer Team
Coached by the late Gary Ortner, the 1995 team was the epitome of an organization with a clearly defined goal and the knowledge of how to achieve that goal. That goal of winning the state title was set early on, in fact on the night of its state runner-up finish in 1994. Player statements throughout the season clearly reveal the team’s mission. One Blue Jay player said, “Our only goal was to win State.” Another player noted during the season, “This team is hungry for a State championship.” And a third player described the season simply as a “quest.”
The 1995 soccer Jays were a driven team with a clearly defined finish line. On the way to that finish line, the team amassed a 19-3 record. Win #19 would come as a 3-2 victory away from home against highly touted Catholic High of Baton Rouge. In the end, said one state champion, “Our goal was to win the state championship. We worked as a team and accomplished that goal.”
Their accomplishment stands as a testament to the ideal of goal setting and hard work toward that goal.
The 2005 Jesuit Soccer Team
Like the 1995 team, Coach Hubie Collins’s 2005 Blue Jay team was motivated to recapture the state championship after finishing the previous season as the state runner-up. That motivation and resulting work ethic resulted in a 30-0-2 undefeated season and the return of the state championship trophy to Carrollton and Banks.
The title game played at Tad Gormley Stadium was a classic with the Jays overcoming two second half deficits to defeat Lafayette 3-2 in overtime. The undefeated 30-0-2 season earned the team a #6 ranking in the national high school soccer poll. One sportswriter summed up the team’s three-fold strength as its “depth, allowing for frequent rotation of players; balanced scoring; and strong defense.”
As a 2005 state championship team, this Blue Jay team is a member of one of the most accomplished athletic years in the school’s history, a year in which Jesuit won state titles in six of the 10 LHSAA sports.