NEW ORLEANS — What do you do when you’re preparing to face an opponent for a fourth time in the same season?
You do what you always do, said Jesuit soccer coach Hubie Collins, whose Blue Jays will clash with District 9 archrival Brother Martin in the state Division I semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday at John Ryan Stadium.
“We want to just play our game and focus on what we can do to win,” Collins said. “Hopefully we’ll come away with a win and get to the finals.”
The Crusaders hold a 2-1 edge in the three previous contests this season. However, Jesuit won the squads’ most recent match, 1-0, on Jan. 12.
Jesuit (15-3-2) enters the game with the No. 2 playoff seed after compiling a 9-1 district mark, with its only league loss coming against Brother Martin.
The Crusaders (20-2) are the No. 3 seed. Brother Martin also posted a 9-1 district record, with its loss coming to the Blue Jays.
At this point, Collins said, the two squads are intimately familiar with each other, so there’s not much either team can do to prepare for Jesuit-Brother Martin IV except stay the same course they charted during the regular season.
“Our players are ready,” he said. “We played on Tuesday (a 3-0 quarterfinal triumph against seventh-seeded Airline), and we’ve done a little bit of recovery work. But we’re fit and ready, and we’re looking forward to a great game (Saturday).
“We’re looking at it as an opportunity to take the next step. We’re pretty experienced as a group, and we’re hoping to use that experience to get a win.”
The winner faces the winner of the other semifinal between top-seeded Lafayette and No. 5 seed St. Paul’s.
But the Blue Jays and the Crusaders aren’t the only area teams present in the state final four. In Division II, No. 8 seed Ben Franklin hosts fourth-seeded Beau Chene at 3 p.m. Saturday in the semis.
The Falcons are a Cinderella, carrying an eighth seed all the way to the final four. But their path was made easier when top-seeded Alexandria lost early.
Franklin coach Jose Ferrand said his team believes it might have earned a higher seed than eighth after a strong regular season, but he added the Falcons are trying not to dwell on that as they prepare for their semifinal match.
“We’re capable of playing as a higher seed,” Ferrand said. “The thing to do (in Saturday’s match) is work together and cover for each other on the field. We’re continuing to work on the things we need to get better on each practice, and we’ll have to give 110 percent to go on (to the final).”
The Franklin-Beau Chene winner, faces the winner of the other Division II semifinal between No. 2 seed St. Louis and sixth-seeded Vandebilt Catholic.
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