CREVE COEUR • The Chaminade soccer team met its match -- and then some -- in a Gateway City Soccer Classic showcase contest Thursday afternoon.
In a clash of nationally-ranked squads, the host Red Devils came out strong, but were eventually overwhelmed by Sacramento (Cal.) Jesuit in a 4-0 Marauders victory.
“That's a good team, one of the better teams we've ever faced,'' Chaminade coach Mike Gauvain said. “They're a mature team, physically and mentally, and the score pretty well matched the game. They're big, they're strong and they know how to play the game.
“They said it was the best they've played all season, and I was impressed, even if it was at our expense.''
Jesuit, ranked 13th by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and 20th by Elite Soccer report, upped its record to 13-1-1 with the victory. The Marauders are also scheduled to play the Pingry School of New Jersey at 7 p.m. Saturday at Parkway West.
Ranked No. 1 among STLhighschoolsports.com large schools, Chaminade is ranked 16th by the NSCAA and 10th by Elite Soccer. It was the second consecutive loss for the Red Devils (13-2), who fell 3-1 to St. Louis University High in the semifinals of the 58th annual CYC/Bob Guelker Memorial Tournament last weekend.
“We need to work through a few things, but we'll be alright,'' Gauvain said. “We have a lot of good players and I'm confident they'll get things figured out.''
The Red Devils, who host South Kent Prep of Connecticut at 5 p.m. Saturday, had a solid start against Jesuit on Thursday. But the Marauders, who seemed frustrated with a 1-1 draw against Chaminade in the 2011 Gateway City Classic, eventually gained control of the match with three first-half goals.
On a counter about 20 minutes in, Jesuit's Tucker Bone played the ball to the right for Niko Hansen, who scored with a low shot to the far post for a 1-0 lead. Seven or so minutes later, Bone played a ball into the box for Kaba Alkebulan, who out-jumped Chaminade keeper Eric Fletcher to head the ball off the crossbar before knocking it into the open net for a 2-0 advantage.
Five minutes later, Hansen added to the Marauders' lead when he scored on a low shot that eluded Fletcher.
The visitors made it 4-0 early in the second half. After a determined run by Jesuit's John Bovill forced a hand ball in the Chaminade penalty area, Hansen put away the penalty kick for the 4-0 final.
Hansen has committed to New Mexico; Alkebulan will play next year at Cal-Poly.
Chaminade's best scoring chance of the day came about 10 minute after halftime. After running onto a pass from Tom Barlow, the Red Devils' Ryan Fagan tested Jesuit keeper Luc Barbe with a low shot.
“I thought we played better in the second half,'' said Gauvain, whose team played the last 20 or so minutes a man short due to a red card. “Hopefully, this can be a learning experience for us. These are the kind of games that test you and that's why they're on the schedule.
“I guess now we'll see how our guys respond.''