GARLAND — If soccer games were decided by time of possession, Jesuit would have been eliminated from the Class 6A Region II playoffs on Tuesday.
But instead, despite an extended late flurry of scoring opportunities by Mesquite, the opportunistic Rangers used a pair of early goals and a stellar defensive effort to earn a 2-0 win at Homer B. Johnson Stadium.
The regional quarterfinal victory means Jesuit will advance to play Round Rock Stony Point at 6 p.m. Friday at the Reeves Athletic Complex in Austin. The regional final would be at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Will Kennard found the net with a header to open the scoring for the Rangers (18-3-1). A few minutes later, Christian Lerma padded the lead off an assist from Chase Burciaga.
From there, the Skeeters (13-8-2) shifted the momentum, but despite several opportunities, never pushed a shot past a Jesuit defensive unit anchored by goalkeeper Luke Ostrander.
“We played really good for the first 25 minutes. Then it was one-way traffic,” said Jesuit head coach Charles DeLong. “We got some good defense and good goalkeeping.”
With the win, Jesuit reaches the regional semifinals for the first time since 2012. Last year, the Rangers were eliminated the same round, on the same field, by North Mesquite.
“We scored two really nice goals and we didn’t lose our composure,” DeLong said. “I’d like to see the same kind of effort and the same kind of defense with a little better attacking.”
Stony Point (14-6-4), which entered the playoffs as the fourth seed from District 13-6A, added to its string of postseason upsets with a 3-1 victory over Pflugerville Hendrickson on Tuesday.