Copyright Times Publishing Co. Dec 24,
Bloomingdale's Sam Isajar
was looking at the Student Sports Invitational much the same
as many of his coaching companions. It was a chance to measure
his squad against
of the best teams from around the state and in the national
Isajar called the tournament a tune-up for
some tough January district games but
thought it could be much
more for his Bulls. Not only was he right, but Isajar learned a
little something along the way.
Bloomingdale staked itself to a lead thanks to a pair of Tom
Davison goals early in the
half, then scored late to beat back suddenly energetic Orange
Park, winning the
Premier Bracket championship 3-1.
The title was the Bulls' third since the
tourney began in 1994 and adds to their legacy as
successful school to participate in the event. They also have a
runner-up finishes and two third-place showings in the
past 10 years. Perhaps more
important than the win for
Bloomingdale (15-1) was what Isajar learned about his team
the past five days.
The Bulls played a district game Friday night
in Sarasota and didn't return home until
after midnight. Their
first tournament match-up was Saturday morning at 9
victory on penalty kicks), followed by another game at 2:30,
which they won.
Tuesday's championship was the Bulls' sixth game
in five days though they didn't show
much of the weariness some
of the other teams fought. Part of the reason is that
was forced to use more of his bench than normal, which may prove
route to district play.
"I discovered there are some good players on
my bench," Isajar said. "I had to use them,
now I know they can play. This gave me an idea of how far we can
go. My goal is
always to win the state championship, and now I think we can get
Berkeley Prep topped Tallahassee Leon 3-1 to finish third in the
Premier bracket. Had
things gone differently in a 3-2 semifinal loss to Bloomingdale,
hosts Jesuit and Berkeley
have won their tournaments.
"We always come out of this playing better,
and we've never finished this good," Bucs
striker Tyler Davis
was named the Premier offensive MVP with eight goals and five
assists. He has 23
this season. In the bracket's other action, Miami Sunset, No. 1
in the nation, beat
Mary 3-0 for fifth and Countryside defeated Clearwater Central
Catholic 2-0 for
- Times correspondent Jeremy Rasmussen
contributed to this report.