NEW ORLEANS — With one kick, junior Jacob Stansberry added his heroics to the list of grand moments in Jesuit’s rivalry against Brother Martin.
Stansberry made the biggest play of his young varsity soccer career on Saturday afternoon by scoring a goal in the 76th minute of the second half, which ended up being the difference in a 1-0 Jesuit victory.
His goal was his third of the season — all since switching from midfielder to forward. The previous two goals were scored during the semifinals of the St. Paul’s Tournament in late December. Still, those offense highlights didn’t offer as much jubilation as Saturday’s big play in front of several hundred standing fans at Brother Martin’s E.A. Farley Field.
“Scoring a goal is just amazing,” said Stansberry, who was unable to contain a huge grin. “Like, I can’t even describe it. It’s just exciting. I’m very happy, very happy.”
The victory, earned on a muddy field and in windy conditions, allowed Jesuit (11-3-1, 5-1) to win its first match this season against Brother Martin (15-2-0, 6-1). The Crusaders won 1-0 on Nov. 18 in the championship game of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart Tournament and 3-1 in the first head-to-head district match (Dec. 11) for the two Division I powerhouses.
Since then, Jesuit coach Hubie Collins has preached persistence.
“He said go for every 50-50 ball because last time we played them, they won almost every header,” senior midfielder Mason Belle said. “It was coming out, playing fast, jumping out the gate with high intensity.”
Brother Martin still dominated the first half and much of the second, but the Crusaders were unable to transform their corner kicks and shots on goal into goals.
And just as Collins preached, an opportunity arose for Jesuit late in the second half. On the play, Mason received a pass not far from an infield throw-in. He beat two defenders, kicking the ball between the legs of the second player. And there stood Stansberry, who worked his way to the right post for the game-winning goal.
“We could have put the game away a couple of times, but that’s what happens on any given day,” said Brother Martin coach Louie Smothermon. We need to make sure we have everybody clicking and on the same page when we go up against these bigger teams. You’ve got to have your best day.”