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Sulphur frights for a ball Tuesday night during the Division I quarterfinal playoff game against Jesuit. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

Sulphur frights for a ball Tuesday night during the Division I quarterfinal playoff game against Jesuit. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

Jesuit capitalizes on set plays

Last Modified: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 3:33 PM

By Rhett Manuel / American Press

SULPHUR — Eight minutes in, the No. 14-seeded Sulphur Golden Tors had the opening goal and a flying start to Tuesday night’s boys soccer quarterfinal against No. 6 Jesuit.

But, when it was all said and done, perhaps fate wasn’t behind the Tors as a pair of penalties ultimately sprung the Blue Jays into the Division I semifinals with a 4-1 win.

A pair of handball calls, one in each half, allowed Jesuit’s Gabriel Navar to convert a pair of spot kicks that ultimately deflated Sulphur’s chances at advancing.

Despite the calls, Sulphur had a couple chances to get more than one goal in the first half, including a point-blank sitter that was scooped over the crossbar.

“If we score right there before halftime, that’s a big-time momentum change,” Sulphur head coach Trevor Foolkes said. “It’s one of those things; we got a touch off of a deflection and it went over the cross bar.”

Sulphur’s lone goal, and lead, came within the first 10 minutes of the match when Micah Taylor played a long ball to midfielder Ashton Reel, who used his speed to get behind a Jesuit defender and fire a hard shot that Blue Jays goalkeeper Nick Tadros had no chance at stopping.

“That’s something we’ve been working on with this group, finding guys up top making decent runs,” Foolkes said. “He hit it perfectly. It was by far the best goal of the game.”

When Jesuit pegged one back a mere 3 minutes later, it was off a free kick. Evan Kramer’s shot deflected off the Sulphur wall to tie the score.

Navar’s penalty kicks came in the 37th and 55th minutes of the game, the first giving the Blue Jays the halftime lead and the second ending any hope of a Tors miracle.

“The penalty kick is very disheartening,” Foolkes said. “It’s one of those things where sometimes it takes the control out of the player’s hands.”

Outside of set pieces, Sulphur allowed one goal in the run of play when Jesuit striker Cameron Coulon tapped the ball home inside the box to give the ’Jays a 3-1 lead 3 minutes into the second half.

Meanwhile, Jesuit’s defense made sure Sulphur’s chances were few and far between after Reel’s opening goal.

“I was very pleased with them after the early mistake,” Jesuit coach Hubie Collins said. “As the game grew, they grew. I thought we handled the type of play Sulphur was throwing at us, the long balls (and) the throw-ins, I think we handled that very, very well. I thought they were absolutely fantastic.”

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