A tournament rivalry will be renewed tonight when the Jackson High School girls soccer team travels to Revere High School to take on Walsh Jesuit at 7 p.m. in a regional semifinal game.
The Polar Bears and Warriors know this scenario well.
The teams met in the regional tournament each year from 2006 to 2009. Walsh Jesuit won three of those four games.
"This has played out numerous times during the regular season and tournament over the years," Jackson head coach Frank Gagliardi said. "We haven't been able to come out on top many times against them over the years. We plan to do our best, though. The key for us is going to be coming in with the correct mentality and having the right mindset."
The Polar Bears have an idea of what they will be in for tonight. Jackson played Walsh on Sept. 21. The Warriors won 4-0.
This isn't the same Jackson team that Walsh played then, said Gagliardi.
"I think we are a more consistent team now," he said. "I think at the time we played them, we were a decent team. I don't think we had come across a team like them when we played them in September. I think we are a better team now.
"We have tightened things up defensively and I think offensively we are a more dangerous team then we were then."
Jackson comes into the game playing well. The Polar Bears did not allow a goal in the district tournament and outscored their three opponents 15-0. It has been a true team effort, Gagliardi said.
"I think when you look at us offensively, Caitlyn Patton and Rachel Bender are our leading goal scorers," he said. "We have a pretty well rounded team though. Lately, we have also gotten two goals from defenders. Maddy Tletski and Mackenzie Cherniuk have been able to contribute goals for us. Overall, we just do our best to spread the ball around."
Walsh also has yet to allow a goal in tournament play this year. Jackson knows what it is going to take to win tonight's game.
"Again, we haven't faced anyone like Walsh so far in the tournament," Gagliardi said. "We have to try to take some things away. I think elevating our defensive execution will be a big key. That is something we have been working on, and something we have been doing better at.
"We've been working hard on not giving up the occasional corner kicks, and we've done a good job tightening that up. I think we were softer defensively earlier in the season than we are now."
Reach Cliff at 330-580-8494 or firstname.lastname@example.org