St. Aloysius drops close decision to JA

Published 8:12 am Tuesday, January 24, 2017

After getting a win and a tie despite a lackluster effort on Saturday, St. Aloysius boys soccer coach Scott Mathis wanted to see a little more fire from his team when it returned to the pitch Monday night.

He got that, even if the Flashes didn’t leave with a win.

Gunnar Bertas and Miles Merell each scored a goal for Jackson Academy, which got the game-winner with less than 10 minutes left to beat St. Al 2-1 at Balzli Field.

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The teams had tied 1-1 Saturday in Jackson, but Mathis said he was a lot happier with the way his team played in the rematch even if it came away on the short end of the result.

“My boys played an awesome game, especially my defense of Jack Dowe, Ryan Theriot, Lee Hanks and Ethan Bagby,” Mathis said. “It was very good. Despite the cruddy field conditions and an opponent that was twice their size they played their hearts out. I couldn’t be prouder. We could have beaten anyone tonight.”

Jackson Academy (11-1-1) scored in the first five minutes of the game, on a goal by Bertas that bounced through the mud and past St. Al keeper Townsend Derivaux. The defense and Derivaux — who made five saves — kept the Flashes in it the rest of the way. They got the equalizer in the 51st minute when Brandon Teller scored off an assist from Jorrit Willemsen.

Then, in the closing stages of regulation, Merell got a pass in the middle of the field and fired it into the upper corner of the net for the go-ahead goal. St. Al (10-4-1) was unable to get another goal before time ran out.

“We had several opportunities, but JA is a big, tough team with a strong defense,” Mathis said.
St. Al will play again Thursday at Oak Forest, and then turn around for a District 3-AAA game at Park Place on Friday.

Its next home game is next Monday at 5 against Central Hinds, the three-time defending MAIS Class AAA champion. Central Hinds beat St. Al 5-4 last week in Raymond.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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