TAMPA – Tampa Prep continued its undefeated start to the season on Wednesday night, but the manner of the Terrapins 4-3 victory against Jesuit left Coach Doug Smith a little concerned.
“Frankly, we got the win, but I don’t think we played as well as we could play,” Smith said. “I don’t think we controlled the ball like we are capable of doing. We were one-dimensional, going too much over the top, we needed to play more to feet, keep the ball, keep our composure.”
But while Smith may have thought the Terrapins play was one-dimensional, the counter-punching style they were able to utilize paid off for them against the Tigers. Using the speed of front men Wes Sever and Jesuit transfer Burrell Aaron effectively, Sever and Twain Glaser found the net to give the Terrapins a 2-0 halftime lead.
“We were fortunate to get a counter or two, and get a couple of goals,” Smith said. “By no means were we dominating the game when we scored our first two goals, and then I think the game opened up a bit.”
The Terrapins (3-0) added a third early in the second half, but then lost senior center back Travis Simmons after a nasty clash of heads with Jesuit’s Trevor Adams left both players dazed, and unable to continue. Simmons' absence, and the loss of defensive midfielder Brandon Weisz to injury that followed it, disrupted the Terrapins at the back. All three of the Tigers goals came after Simmons left the game, an indicator of how important his quick recovery will be for the Terps.
Tampa Prep's Anthony Baumann scored on a low shot off a free kick from the left corner of the penalty area to make the score 4-1, seemingly putting the game out of reach, but the Tigers were able to pull within a goal late, an injury time penalty giving them hope of pulling out a tie. That disappointed Smith, but he felt that the side would learn from what was their first true test this season.
“I still think as far as the flow of play, we could have done a lot better,” Smith said. “I don’t think, frankly, our guys had been used to that thus far in the season, where they had no time on the ball, and I thought Jesuit, to their credit, did a good job.”
As for Jesuit (1-1-2), the Tigers are now winless in three straight, a pair of ties against Tampa Catholic and Robinson coming before Wednesday’s loss. That fact may be slightly misleading, though, as in all three the Tigers have played well, with an inability to take the chances they are creating the only apparent reason for their struggles.
With an eminently winnable game against Middleton up next for Jesuit, the Tigers should be able to get back on track before they head to Sarasota for the Sarasota High Thanksgiving Invitational, beginning on Monday.