By JOHN JAMES MARSHALL, Journal Sports
Three years ago, the Loyola soccer program honored four-year star Carson Berry with a banner at the field after he scored his 100th career goal. Kennedy Jarrett took notice of the banner and thought that it might be a nice goal to set for herself.
Jarrett led the way with three goals as the Flyers, after a bit of a slow start, saw the floodgates open in a quarterfinal match against Lusher Charter in a 5-0 win Wednesday at Messmer Stadium.
Jarrett had one goal in the first half and two more in the second to reach the magic mark.
“It was kind of a relief,” the senior said. “but we really need to stay focused on the games we have left.”
A header by Mary Helen Burford off a corner kick took the lid off for the Flyers and was quickly followed by goals from Madalyn VanDevender and Jarrett to give the Flyers a 3-0 lead midway through the first half.
“We were able to score a couple of goals which settled us down,” Loyola coach Mark Matlock said. “Overall, it was a strong performance from the front all the way back to the goalkeeper.”
About the only suspense left after that was whether Jarrett would be the fourth Flyer to score her 100th career goal.
The senior got #99 with 31 minutes remaining in the second half to make it 4-0 as the countdown continued.
Ten minutes later, Jarrett broke loose and knocked it into the left side of the net to add to the Loyola lead.
“It was really exciting,” Jarrett said of her 100th goal. “I’m glad it went in so I didn’t have to worry about it anymore.”
There wasn’t much suspense for the Flyer defense either as Loyola controlled almost all of the possessions on its end of the field.
“We’ve been pretty dominant the last couple of games,” Loyola coach Mark Matlock said. “This team is on a mission right now. The confidence level is really high but we are really relaxed which has helped us to play well.”
The Flyers advance to meet St. Michael’s (Baton Rouge) in the semifinals – the fourth straight year for Loyola to reach the Final Four. The two teams met in December and played to a 1-1 draw. The game, likely to be played Saturday, will be at Messmer Stadium.
“I’m really excited we made it back the semis,” VanDevender said. “Plus it’s a rematch against St. Michael’s, so it’s going to be big.”
“Technically, they (St. Michael’s) are pretty good,” Matlock said. “I think the battle for the midfielders is going to be big. It’s a matter of finishing chances. When you get this far in the playoffs, you tend to only get four or five chances to score and the team that puts those away is going to win.”
Loyola (13-5-4) has won 11 straight and has allowed only one goal in its last seven matches. The Flyers will be looking for a third straight appearance in the Division III finals.
Photo by GRAHAM TRAWICK