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TAMPA — Things were looking up for Jesuit after the first half of the 17th annual High School Soccer Invitational championship game, but momentum swung the other way in the second half.
On the verge of winning the prestigious tournament for the third time, not to mention avenging a 2-1 loss to nationally ranked Montverde this season, the Tigers collapsed after the break Wednesday and lost 3-1 in their sixth final.
“We had a great first half,” Jesuit coach Bob Bauman said. “Momentum just changed on the PK. It was a big swing.”
Montverde (18-0) tied the game at 1 on David Graydon’s penalty kick. Jesuit keeper Patrick Danner raced out of his net and was issued a yellow card after colliding with Henrique Noveas in the penalty box. Graydon beat backup keeper Alejandro Costas on the right side for the goal.
Later in the half, the Eagles got two goals less than four minutes apart. Juan Jose Morales took a through ball from Triston Hall and scored on a 25-yard blast just under the crossbar in the 57th minute. Joao Victor Ramalho followed with a 35-yard free kick that snuck past Danner.
Jesuit (15-3) got its lone goal midway through the first half when Alexander Rados beat keeper Victor Franca on a penalty kick. Rados made Franca move to his left with a fake kick before blasting the ball into the lower right corner.
“I just wanted to put it low and hard, and put it past him,” Rados said of his fourth goal this season.
In Wednesday’s semifinals, Jesuit edged Gaither 1-0 and Montverde, ranked fifth in the nation by the ESPN Powerade Fab 50, beat Lakeland George Jenkins by the same margin.
Tyler Hartlage scored early in the second half in the win over the Cowboys.