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Jesuit's goal enough to nip SPC

In a preview of what could be a wild Class 3A, District 9 tournament, Jesuit eked out a 1-0 win over St. Petersburg Catholic on Tuesday.

The Tigers outshot the Barons 17-7 but needed a goal from Santi Alexis with four minutes remaining to win.

Both teams had chances but the back of the net seemed like a distant oasis.

The Tigers (10-4-2) almost scored in the second minute when Andrew Fuller dribbled to the goal line, then cut it back for a hard shot in the corner. But Barons goalkeeper Davis Rodriguez got a foot on it, and no Tiger was there for the follow-up.

Jesuit had similar chances by Chad Dalton, Billy Taylor, Ryan Brennan, and Tim Miller, but each time their crosses or shots just missed.

"We just have to be more aggressive and go after the ball in front of the goal," Jesuit coach Bob Bauman said. "We're being too reactive and waiting for something to happen. We need to be proactive and make something happen."

The Barons (6-4-2) had a good opportunity when Matthew Skonicki crossed to a wide-open Ryan Covington in the 30th minute, but Covington's shot went high.

Jesuit keeper Matt Macar knocked away a diving header by Justin Weimerskirk with less than two minutes remaining.

"You've got to take advantage when you have it," Barons coach Anatol Popovich said. "This was one of those games that whoever finally scored one was going to be the winner."

The win solidifies Jesuit's place atop the district standings. But the Tigers and Barons have yet to play Clearwater Central Catholic.

SPC takes on CCC Thursday, and Jesuit plays the Marauders on Jan. 22.

"It's a tough district. Very competitive," Popovich said.

District dogfight

Class 3A, District 9 standings:

1. Jesuit (2-0-1)

2. Clearwater Central Catholic (2-1)

3. St. Petersburg Catholic (2-1-1)

4. Sarasota Card. Mooney (2-1-1)

5. Tampa Catholic (0-1-3)

6. Robinson (0-4)