Capistrano Valley held off Mater Dei, 3-2, to clinch the South Coast League boys' soccer title Friday at Mater Dei.
In Coach Ron Willms' 19 years at Capistrano Valley, the Cougars (15-3-5, 7-0-3) had never been undefeated in league play. This year, they also racked up 14 shutouts.
The victory Friday did not come easily. The teams tied 0-0 earlier this season, and have a history of emotional meetings. "Last year, Mater Dei was (Southern Section) champion. They only lost two games, and both were to us," Willms said. "They don't like us at all."
This was apparent all afternoon, as both teams played an aggressive, volatile game.
Just before the half in a scoreless game, Brad Chapin took a shot from the left side. Mater Dei goalkeeper Paul Gerdis dived for the ball, but it rolled away from him and Ryan Hawkins followed with a goal into the left corner of the net.
Five minutes into the second half, Chapin passed to Hawkins, who headed the ball just left of the goal. Slapping his head in frustration, Hawkins trotted away. On the next play, Chapin stole the ball and again fed Hawkins, who was all alone at the penalty box and scored his second goal for a 2-0 lead.
Mater Dei (14-5-2, 6-2-1) had four direct kicks within one minute, all 20 yards from midfield, but was unable to capitalize until 33 minutes into the half. Giancarlo Barzotti shot through a group of players in front of the goal for the Monarchs' first score.
With three minutes left in the game, Mater Dei co-captain Danny Smith threw in the ball, but Todd Weidner deflected it and sent it up to Chapin at midfield. Chapin dribbled to the penalty box, and Gerdis came out and deflected the ball, but it went off his elbow. Chapin never broke stride, leaped over the prone goalkeeper and scored.
With no time left in the game, Smith took three consecutive corner kicks; on the third, Ara Akoubian scored.
"These kids," Willms said. "When they have their intensity up to this level, they can do anything."
In other league games:
Dana Hills 2, San Clemente 0--Dana Hills kept its playoff hopes alive by shutting out San Clemente. The Dolphins (9-10-1, 3-5-1) must defeat Mater Dei this afternoon to advance to the playoffs. If they lose, Mission Viejo moves on. Should Dana Hills tie the Monarchs, it will play Mission Viejo immediately following the game with the winner advancing.
Mission Viejo 2, Trabuco Hills 2--Mark Fiore and Ronnie Davis each scored for Mission Viejo (2-4-4 in league), keeping its hopes alive for a third-place finish, depending on the outcome of Dana Hills-Mater Dei game today.