TAMPA — On the coldest night of the calendar year, the gusts never subsided at Corral Memorial Stadium. Neither did the Jesuit Tigers’ resilience.
Down a man, the Tigers (14-2-4) scored in the 71st minute on sweeper Michael Conlon’s shot in traffic from just outside the goal box, salvaging a 1-1 tie Thursday against Tampa Prep (16-1-2).
Conlon, who turns 17 on Tuesday, watched Andy Mahoney’s throw-in ricochet like a pinball off a pack of players before he gained control just enough to flick a shot into the left corner of the net.
“I would say it was luck,” Conlon said. “It was by chance. I had no idea it was coming.”
Veteran Tigers coach Bob Bauman had a different choice of words.
“That’s the character of this team,” said Bauman, whose squad found itself down a player when junior Ian Gutierrez picked up his second yellow card midway through the second half. “They didn’t let up. Down a man, down a goal, we were relentless.”
Resolve was in far greater supply than offense for the Tigers, who were outshot 11-3 and appeared destined for their first loss to the Terrapins since Nov. 18, 2009.
Tampa Prep took the lead seven minutes into the second half when UNC-Wilmington-bound senior Macsen Pritchard took a quick free kick, slithered past a pair of defenders and sent a blast from atop the 18-yard box. It was his fourth goal in five career matches against Jesuit.
Just not quite enough to end the Terrapins’ maddening stretch of futility against the Tigers.
“It definitely does (sting),” Pritchard said. “The last time I won this game was my freshman year. We thought we could come up with a win. We feel we’re the best in Tampa but we couldn’t show it today in the end.”