TAMPA — It’s tough to tell which Jesuit unit is clicking more right now.
Five Tigers scored and the defense blanked another opponent as Jesuit cruised past visiting Tarpon Springs 7-0 in a 3A region semifinal Tuesday night.
“This is what it’s all about, the postseason,” Jesuit coach Eric Sims said. “We didn’t want to overlook (Tarpon Springs).”
The Tigers (15-4-3) have been scoring goals in piles, racking up 34 strikes in the past five matches. Jesuit has defeated three of those opponents by the 8-0 mercy rule during the five-match winning streak.
The Tigers got on the board in unconventional fashion in the 13th minute when Jacob Starnes’ long throw into the box bounced high off the turf and was tipped in by Spongers’ keeper Vasili Makryllos. Starnes then flashed through the box to volley in a corner service from Ian Gutierrez in the 20th minute and Connar Lufkin put the Tigers up 3-0 two minutes later on a free kick from about 20 yards out.
“We’ve been getting up early and not letting off the pedal,” Starnes said. “It’s more of a team effort. Even the defenders are pushing up and getting crosses and headers.”
Defensively, the Tigers were perfect. For the fourth consecutive match, Jesuit did not allow a single shot on frame. It also marked Jesuit’s fifth consecutive shutout.
“Our goal at the beginning of district was to not allow any goals all playoffs,” center back Michael Conlon said. “It’s all about mindset.”
Kurt Sierra, Daryian Flores, Alejandro Cartaya and Lufkin rounded out the scoring for Jesuit.