Jared Yoshino knocked in the winning goal a little more than 10 minutes into the first overtime period to give Southview a 2-1 victory over St. Francis and the Division I district championship Saturday afternoon, on its home field.
It was the third goal of the district tournament for Yoshino, who scored twice in Southview’s 2-1 win over St. John’s in the semifinal round.
Southview coach Chad Cody said Yoshino’s innate ability to be around the ball, even in the crush of bodies in front of the St. Francis goal, was on display when the Cougars got the decisive score. Cody said the Cougars’ senior seems to regularly make decisive plays in critical situations.
“It’s every game with him ... every game,” Cody said. “I take him off the field for a minute, but then I have to get him right back out there, because you never know what he is going to do.”
Yoshino, whose overtime goal advances the Cougars to the regional semifinal on Wednesday night at Central Catholic against Anthony Wayne, said he saw a number of players converge as the ball came in from well outside the goal area, but he was able to maintain sight of the ball.
“The keeper tipped it and it landed right in front of me, so I just tapped it in,” Yoshino said. “It was mostly just reacting to the play. You need to be a little lucky, be in the right spot in that situation, and then put it in.”
In order to get to the point where a “sudden victory” goal was possible, the Cougars had to come back from a 1-0 deficit, and overcome the deliberate style employed by the Knights.
The majority of the action in the first 40 minutes took place in the St. Francis end of the field, but Knights goalie Brendan Brown turned back everything that came his way.
With less than a minute left in the first half, Colin Clarke of St. Francis advanced the ball toward the Cougars’ goal, and when Southview goalie Eric Breeden came out to cut him off, Clarke lofted a pass that Jake Micham knocked in with a header.
Southview did not pull even with the Knights until midway through the second half. Battling in a crush of bodies, Chris Ellis came up with the ball after a throw-in by Jared Lyle and punched it into the net.
The Cougars also needed a huge save from Breeden in traffic about seven minutes into overtime to extend the game.
Cody said the strategy in the extra period was the same as what he pushed his team to employ throughout the game, and that meant the Cougars had to maintain their composure and avoid getting frustrated against the defense-conscious Knights.
“We knew exactly what they were going to do, trying to slow the game down, pack it in the back, and then try to get a quick counterattack,” Cody said. “It affected us, so we just had to slow the game down and be patient. We stressed all along about being patient and making quality passes.”
Yoshino said the Cougars stayed with the plan and waited for an opportunity.
“We’re used to that style, since we’ve played them before, so we knew we had to be patient,” he said. “We’ve been down before and fought back. We know what to do.
"We were all pretty confident, so we just had to fight back as a team.”