“It’s just special, I couldn’t tell you how we do it. We just have a mix of things and we’re so determined and never give up on it. We have a great team with the best chemistry I’ve ever seen. Our coaches are so good and we just find ways to win."
Jordan continues to find a way through tough situations.
The Warriors have found themselves with their backs against the wall in each of their past two playoff games, trying to find a way past a difficult opponent that matched them step for step.
Jordan has neve been phased in these moments. They’ve been here before, they’ve overcome adversity and they know what it takes to win at the highest level in the playoffs.
That confidence and calm came up huge for Jordan once again on Friday, as the Warriors overcame an extremely tough opponent in Paetow 1-0 in the regional quarterfinals of the playoffs, as the Warriors clinched a spot in the Regional Tournament for the second straight season.
“It’s just special, I couldn’t tell you how we do it. We just have a mix of things and we’re so determined and never give up on it,” said Jordan senior center back Ben Bucic. “We have a great team with the best chemistry I’ve ever seen. Our coaches are so good, and we have great fan support that backs us up. It’s just a combination of things and there’s just something about us where we find ways to win these games.”
Bucic provided the difference in the game. Not only did the senior help hold the Panthers scoreless throughout, being a big body on the back line, but he also scored the games only goal when he headed in a corner kick in the 63rd minute of the game, giving Jordan the lead for good in a hard fought victory.
“It’s just an amazing feeling,” Bucic said. “We threw everything at it, we knew how tough of a matchup it was going to be and to get that goal, to get this win, it just means everything. We got it done and I couldn’t be happier.”
It was a back and forth game, but Paetow was aggressive and on the front foot in the first half. Creating a number of chances, but Jordan’s goal keeper Elijah Betancourt came up with a number of big saves to keep things tied at zero.
But things started to shift in the second half, Jordan was able to match the Panthers physicality, start to make things happen on the offensive end and find their footing in the game. The Warriors created a number of chances early in the second half before Bucic gave them the lead in the 63rd minute, as Jordan was able to see things out the rest of the way.
“We just competed with them every step of the way,” Jordan head coach Jason Meekins said. “We got into the second half and I turned to our coaching staff and said ‘we are beating them to balls right now.’ We just kept that going through the first 15 minutes of the second half, beating them to balls and creating chances. We knew we would have to compete, they’re big and physical up front but we were able to stick with them and win those challenges when we needed to.”
The Warriors came into the matchup 0-4 against Paetow over the past two years, but that was just more motivation for them as they wanted to prove they were the better team.
“It was personal for us,” Betancourt said. “They won both against us in 5A last year and then they won against us twice this regular season. We just wanted to come out and prove we could compete with them and that we could beat them.”
The Warriors advance to play the winner of Dobie and Pearland in the regional semifinals next Friday.
“We’ve been here before and we understand what it takes to win big games,” Meekins said. “That’s a huge thing for our guys and what they did last year. When we get into these tight games we know how to play a full 80 minutes. Our kids buy in to us as coaches and what we teach, and they fight for each other. You couldn’t ask for more.”
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