Strake wins Region III boys soccer title
Strake Jesuit capped off a dominating run through the UIL Region III-5A boys soccer tournament with a 2-0 win over Fort Bend Clements Saturday at Abshier Stadium, winning the regional championship and advancing to the state tournament next week in Georgetown. Strake will be joined in Georgetown by The Woodlands (Region II-5A) and Kingwood Park (Region III-4A) on the boys side and Katy Seven Lakes (Region III-5A) and The Woodlands (Region II-5A) in girls action.
The Region III boys final Saturday started an hour late after the girls final went to a shootout, but Strake was in control most of the game. The Crusaders boast two Dynamo Academy standouts, including injured forward Abe Matamoros - who nevertheless donned a uniform and participated in warmups - and Pat Wall, the Academy's U-18 goalkeeper who starts as a centerback for Strake.
Strake (26-0-1), which beat Clear Lake 3-1 in Friday night's semifinals, took the lead in the 22nd minute. A long throw-in from Michael Davidson was not cleared, and right midfielder Tarek Darouiche played the ball back into the box, where center midfielder Beau Grenier curled a right-footed shot to the top right corner for a deserved lead.
The best chance of the first half for Clements (24-2) came when forward Cooper Till used some nifty dribbling moves to create space in the midfield, then unleashed a long, left-footed shot that Strake's Jason Taffet had to tip around the post for a corner kick.
In the second half, after several consecutive chippy plays by Clements, Strake all but put the game away in the 54th minute. Wall floated in a free kick, and the 6-foot-4 Davidson rose high to nod the ball down at the near post, where it softly bounced over the dive of unfortunate Clements goalkeeper Akshay Raju.
Strake had two more good scoring chances - a long-range free kick that Davidson whistled high and a brilliant move by Grenier out of the corner that set up a failed shooting attempt, while Clements' best opportunity came in the 68th minute when Zach Wolf laid the ball off for Andy McDaniel arriving in the penalty area, but his shot skimmed the top of the crossbar.
Strake used junior Taylor Fletcher to shadow Wolf throughout the game, and Clements' passive back line and short bench were no match for the more fluid Crusaders, although they again relied on set pieces for both goals. Strake also showed class in victory, as both Davidson and Wall consoled the despondent Raju after the final whistle.
Wall, Matamoros, and Strake head to the state tournament, to be joined by Dynamo Academy teammates Conner Mowery and Cody Schlegel and their The Woodlands squad, which topped Round Rock Westwood in a shootout in the Region II-5A final Saturday. Kingwood Park, another unbeaten team, rallied to beat Waco University 4-2 in the Region III-4A final Saturday. Sophomore forward Isaiah Noreiga has missed the Panthers' run while competing for the Dynamo Academy in the Dallas Cup.
The 5A semifinals will be held on Thursday, with the 4A semifinals on Friday and all four finals on Saturday. All of the Houston area's regional champion soccer teams, boys and girls, will be honored at the Dynamo's April 17 game against Chivas USA.
Strake Jesuit vs. Fort Bend Clements
April 3, 2010 – Abshier Stadium, Deer Park
UIL 5A Region III final
SJ -- Beau Grenier (Tarek Darouiche) 22
SJ -- Michael Davidson (Pat Wall) 54
Strake Jesuit -- Jason Taffet, Robert Greenberg, Pat Wall, Taylor Fletcher, Eric Lahart, Tarek Darouiche, Michael Davidson, Beau Grenier, Jamie Garcia-Prats, Robbe Tarver, Kyle Ruck.
Substitutes: Sami Darouiche, Chris Seitz, Beck DeSpain, Kenny Lahart, Jordan Reilly.
Fort Bend Clements -- Akshay Raju, Brandon Kwan, Chandler Mott, Mitch Matthews, Michael Kwan, Danny Austgen, Matty Reed, Andy McDaniel, Brian Heitzer, Cooper Till, Zach Wolf.
Substitutes: Cody Amaris, Ali El Saadi, Conner Murphy, Andrew Herzog.
SJ -- Chris Seitz (caution) 33
Clem -- Matty Reed (caution) 51
Clem -- Chandler Mott (caution) 54
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial