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EAST LAKE'S CHANCES PASS THEM BY

The Eagles come close to bumping off the Tigers, but a late goal ends their season.

It led twice. The bounces were going its way. A stunning upset seemed at hand.

However, the longer the game wore on, the worse East Lake's chances looked.

The Eagles ducked, dodged and denied the Tigers, but ultimately could not hold them off in dropping a 3-2 decision Tuesday night.

Ranked No. 5 in the country - the highest ranking for any team in the Tampa Bay area - Jesuit scored twice in the final 23 minutes to end the Eagles' season.

East Lake finished 14-3-2. The Tigers (26-2) move on to Friday's region championship.

"We ran out of time,'' said East Lake first-year coach Sergei Stopek. "They are a tough team and they keep on coming back. Time was on their side tonight.''

So was a little good fortune, helping wipe out a 2-1 Eagles advantage on goals by Juan Alcala.

Jesuit senior Greg Sasser tied the match at 2 in the 52nd minute, but the real heartbreaker was Josh Menendez's dipping and diving game-winner past keeper David Kirkbridge with seven minutes left.

Menendez, who had been stoned by the Eagles keeper on a 2-on-1 breakaway earlier, shot low from roughly 25 yards out, and what initially appeared to be a harmless shot slipped through.

"I misjudged it,'' said Kirkbridge, who was busy most of the second half and kept his team in the game with some spectacular saves.

"It just dipped and took a bounce and got past me.''

East Lake was fortunate as well. An errant throw-in out of the corner by the Tigers set up Alcala's first goal 91 seconds in, and after Jesuit tied it, keeper Max Renaldo badly misplayed a ball near the top of the box in the 49th minute, letting Alcala slip in to make it 2-1.

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