Buoyed by a brace, San Ysidro withstood Hoover’s second half barrage of shots, fending off the Cardinals 2-1 to capture the San Diego Section Division IV boys soccer crown Saturday at Clairemont High.
“Heart,” said Raad Aljabi. “We’ve been shut down in a lot of big games and ended up choking, but we left everything on the field, capitalized on our opportunities and got the victory.”
Twice, Aljabi converted attempts for the No. 4 Cougars (11-8-2), who knocked off top-seeded Monte Vista in the semifinals.
In the 20th minute, the senior midfielder penetrated the Cardinals’ back line and connected on a midcross from the right wing. Diving head first, Aljabi bashed the ball forward past the keeper to cushion San Ysidro 1-0.
Ahead, the Cougars extended the lead before halftime. Aljabi corralled a through-ball before curling it into the far right post, which proved to be the game-sealer.
No. 3 Hoover (11-10-1) cleaned up botched save attempt from San Ysidro’s keeper, tapping the rebound into an open net 15 seconds later to cut the deficit to 2-1, but the Cardinals couldn’t convert any of their chances in the second half to equalize.