by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuits Christo Michaelson goes after a loose ball as Alohas Dago Mendez saves a shot in the first half of the Crusaders 10-0 win.

When transcendental talent measures up to hard work in any sport, something special is often imminent.

Yes, the Jesuit boys’ soccer team has a surplus of consummate star players, many of which are considered collegiate prospects. The Crusaders, externally, have very few detectable holes and their methodical schemes often put their opponents in the proverbial lurch.

Yet, what puts the Crusaders a cut above the rest isn’t so much their natural ability, but how they maximize it. While a late season game against Aloha would sometimes call for Jesuit to take liberties with its gifts, the Crusaders chose instead to industriously go at full speed.

Crashing the net, converting goals on rebounds, and hustling after every loose ball and 50-50 opportunity like they were down 1-0 in the final 6A state championship game, Jesuit routed Aloha, 10-0, in workman-like fashion on Monday.

“We’ve been trying to do that all year,” said senior Christopher Chertude. “It’s a mentality, just never give up on anything. We’re just trying to work as hard as we can. We have such a skilled team, but we also have to have that effort. We put away those second chances off rebounds and everything, so it was nice.”

Jesuit simply refused to play half-heartedly in its last home game of the regular season. With friends and family in attendance to witness senior night, the Crusaders put on a dazzling performance, scoring four goals in the first TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit senior Charlie Chimento boots home a penalty kick for the Crusaders second goal of the game against Aloha on Monday.

Eleven minutes into the first half, senior Antonio Porreco plugged a heater off the legs of Aloha goalie Dago Mendez that bounced directly to fellow senior Henry Rocker. Rocker cocked back his left foot and let off a line drive into the net from 10 yards out to give Jesuit a 1-0 lead.

Four minutes later, Porreco was fouled in the goalie box, resulting in a Charlie Chimento penalty kick score to go up 2-0

A booming goal kick by senior goal keeper James Wisniewski put the ball deep to Chertude, who tried to slip a left-to-right shot by a diving Mendez. The Warrior keeper clipped the shot away from the net, but Porreco came flying in from the right flank and without reluctance kicked in the ricochet for Jesuit’s third goal.

“We were trying to get as many goals as we could early and start off strong,” said TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuits Ulyl Acevedo-Chable dribbles upfield in the first half of the Crusaders 10-0 win over Aloha.

Porreco put the exclamation point on a popping first half, when he punched a cross to the head of the 6-foot-4 Chertude. Despite being the tallest guy on the field, Chertude somehow snuck behind the Warrior defense, pointed his index forward in the air at Porreco to indicate he was ready for the pass, then skied to meet the ball in the air to go up 4-0.

“Everybody’s looking for everybody else at all times,” said Rocker. “There’s no selfish person on this team. We’re all out here to do it for each other.”

Heads high

“It was frustrating,” said Aloha defender Jorge Mil. “Just knowing how they like to play, how they pass the ball, we need to work on defending good players. We have to put work into it and really focus on the game, focus on winning. We’ll come back. We won’t let this beat us. We’ll keep our heads high and just play hard.”

Mendez said once Jesuit went ahead 4-0, the Warriors’ mood plummeted. The keeper did his best to stop Jesuit’s first shot attempts, stopping three initial chances, only to see the Crusaders come flying in for scores.

“We didn’t have confidence in ourselves,” said Mendez. “I tried my best and did everything I could to help the team. I could’ve kept some of those (rebounds), but stuff happens. We gave them the rebounds, and they took advantage of the opportunities.”

The passing, the dexterity and the creativity that’s marked this Jesuit team was all on full demonstration in the first half and continued in the second half when Porreco scored twice more.

“Especially in the attacking half of the field, everybody on this team is so skilled,” said Rocker. “We’re always interchanging and looking for each other. We know if we give the other person the ball, that we’re going to get it back, or they’re going to do something productive with it.” by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit senior Henry Rocker high kicks a ball toward Aloha in the first half of the Crusaders 10-0 rout of the Warriors on Monday.

Sophomore Kirubel Zewdie, junior Jake Brady and Chimento scored in the second half. Senior Nic Porcelli bent a free kick around a wall of Aloha defenders and into the cotton to go up 8-0.

“It’s all because of the effort we put in in the first half, when we come strong,” added Chertude. “Then we get to have the fun stuff where we’re able to be creative.”

Porreco said Jesuit tries to overwhelm the other team by putting extra men up the field on offense, creating mismatches and applying force to the defense. The senior also offered a nugget of information that might be alarming for other 6A state contenders such as Central Catholic to hear.

“I owe it to my team,” said Porreco. “My team played great today. I think we saw how good we could be, but we haven’t played to our full potential, yet. I think we’re hitting it right now.”

“We’re still rising,” added Rocker. “The sky’s the limit for us, really. There isn’t a skill we don’t have on this team. We’re still on the incline.” by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - The Jesuit boys soccer team celebrates senior Nic Porcellis goal in the second half of the Crusaders win over Aloha on Monday.

Self-satisfaction doesn’t seem to be a problem for this Jesuit team, but Chertude was quick to point out that Aloha was better than the scoresheet indicated, and there are still areas to fasten.

“We just have to maintain the pressure in the first half,” said Chertude. “We have to press everywhere on the field. We can’t have one person lacking because then that’s like playing a man down. We have to have everyone put in the effort, and I think we’ll be fine.”

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