Senior Jeremy Tran had a novel method to deal with the pressure of his crucial penalty kick during Saturday’s San Diego Section Division III soccer championship game.
His mind went “completely blank.”
In the ninth round of a marathon shootout, Tran scored the decisive goal to give nine-man University City a 7-6 victory over St. Augustine after the teams had played to a 1-1 draw at San Diego Mesa College.
“I didn’t really think at all,” Tran said. “I just shot it.”
University City won its fourth section title, adding this year’s crown to titles in 2011, 2004 and 1987.
St. Augustine outshot UC 16-6 as the Centurions lost two players to red cards. Referee Keith Popejoy sent off senior Danny Morales for serious foul play in the final minute of regulation, and Popejoy dealt senior Cyrus Huxford his second caution nine minutes into overtime.
Facing intense pressure, University City held on for penalties.
“We played defensively first, and that helped us out in the last few minutes of overtime,” University City goalkeeper Ben Mitchell said. “Then just faith got us through the penalty shootout.”