Boys soccer: Jesuit holds off Leto, 2-1
TAMPA - It took a lot of versatility for the Jesuit High soccer team to top district opponent Leto, 2-1, on Tuesday night. First, the Tigers had to adjust to a second round of the flu this season, sidelining leading scorer Eric Mubang and midfielder Ethan Saleh. Second, they had to weather a slow start and then nip a second-half momentum shift toward an unrelenting opponent. Versatility in the post-shower conditions was best showcased for Jesuit (13-1-2) by the range of senior captain Luis Ortiz, who spent the first half in the attack and the second half anchoring the defense."This is the kind of game that shows how solid a player Luis is," Jesuit coach Bob Bauman said. "He can respond to whatever the coaches and his teammates need him to do and I think that is a measure of his character. When called upon, he does whatever is asked of him." Ortiz, who spent the first half as an attacking midfielder, stayed active early by sending several crosses into the box but failed to find a finisher. Jesuit broke through late in the first half when Andrew Mason sent a shot that was saved by Leto keeper Stephen Mejia, only to have the ball get away from him and be chipped in by Tigers sophomore Jacob Starnes. Mason scored the Tigers' second goal early in the second half, converting on a 25-yard free kick that went in untouched. Leto (6-5-2), which looked sharp in outshooting Jesuit 4-1 during the match's first 15 minutes, struggled to find the net or beat Tigers keeper Lucas Schmeling. That changed, as did the momentum, in the 57th minute, when Alfredo Aparicio scored on a chip shot. With momentum edging closer to the Falcons, Ortiz dropped back to defender, joining solid nights from juniors Michael Conlon and Cole Dominguez, and stymied Leto's offense the rest of the way. Ortiz made a huge clearance at the line in the 64th minute with Schmeling down after making a save. "They had a lot of momentum after that first goal," Ortiz said. "I'm a team captain and I know when we are not in the right mindset. I have a job to do to get everyone back into the right flow." Leto's defense had an equally solid night from junior stopper Miguel Garcia, who made three stops at the goal line to keep the Falcons within reach.