Jared Yoshino spent much of Southview's season in and out of the Cougars' lineup.
A sprained ankle kept the Southview senior hobbled for much of the Cougars' soccer campaign.
However, Yoshino was in Southview's lineup on Wednesday evening to help contend with St. John's Jesuit in a Division I district semifinal at Southview.
That proved to be a good thing for the Cougars, who came away 2-1 winners in the matchup.
Yoshino played a key role in the outcome, scoring both goals for Southview, which will take on St. Francis in a district final on Saturday afternoon at Southview.
The Knights defeated Northview in a defense-dominated marathon match ultimately decided in overtime by penalty kicks, 4-3.
"It's win or go home," Southview coach Chad Cody said, following the Cougars' victory over the Titans. "I have 19 seniors on the team that I love to death, and I didn't want their season to end at Southview."
After a scoreless first half, Yoshino scored his goals after the intermission. He showed no signs of being slowed by any injury.
"This is really nice to come out strong and put two goals in to help the team to victory," Yoshino said.
His first score came with just under 38 minutes remaining to give Southview a 1-0 lead.
Yoshino dribbled a slow roller past a St. John's defender and Titans goalie Eric Mihaly with 37 minutes, 45 seconds left in the second half.
However, St. John's senior standout Matt Almester tied the score at 1 with a shot past Southview goalie Eric Breeden with 25:37 left in the contest.
The score remained tied for nearly 20 minutes before Yoshino came through with the game-winner.
He gave Southview a 2-1 lead when he pounced on a ball that bounced out of Mihaly's hands and slipped a shot into the back of the net with 6:40 left on the clock.
Yoshino earned the goal, and teammate Daniel Blackmar was credited with an assist after making the initial shot at the goal. Mihaly stopped the first shot attempt, but couldn't hang on to it before Yoshino jumped on the loose ball.
"The goalie tipped it, and I just tried to tap it in," Yoshino said.
The Cougars (13-3-2) entered the contest against the Titans (11-7-1) having perhaps a slight edge in confidence. They posted a 1-0 victory over the Titans during the regular season.
"I thought we just stepped up tonight and played with a lot of heart," Cody said.
St. John's coach Tim Concannon said the Titans attempted a different approach against the Cougars — attacking the goal more from the outside — the second time around.
Yet, Southview overcame the Titans’ revised game plan.
"You have to give it to Southview because they came out and played a hard, physical match," Concannon said.
In the second district semifinal, St. Francis and Northview battled through two 40-minute halves, two 15-minute overtime periods, and neither team figured out a way to score a goal. St. Francis goalie Brendan Brown and Northview goalie John Wendt proved unflappable and refused to concede a goal until penalty kicks.
St. Francis' Anthony Weltin, Andrew Husted, Brown, and Kevin Olszewski put a penalty kick apiece past the Wildcats goalie into the back of the net to propel the Knights (11-7-1) to a district final.
"Everyone stepped up big tonight," St. Francis assistant coach John Clark said. "Northview is a very, very good team, and we just hung in there.
"We gave them assignments to play organized, disciplined, and work harder than the other team. We've told them that the whole season. They keep on believing and keep getting better and better."
Nate Bartlett, Jake Koback and Adam Gonia came through with penalty-kick goals for Northview (11-4-2) against the Knights goalie.
Contact Donald Emmons at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.