For the third straight year Vista del Lago is the Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section soccer champions and coach Joe Esfandiary received his second SJS 'Coach of the Year' award in three years at the helm.
Vista defeated Sierra Valley Conference rival Galt, 1-0, on Saturday to claim the championship. Freshman Will DuBay scored for the Eagles, his fourth goal of the season, but none nearly as big as the section game-winner.
After a competitive first half which saw the Warriors keep Vista's defense quite busy, DuBay scored in the final two minutes of the half. Hunter Symon crossed the ball into the box and a Galt defender headed the ball away from the goal, but it went right to DuBay, who was streaking down the right side.
"It came right to me and I beat the keeper to the near post," DuBay said. "It means a lot to score the winning goal; being a freshman and helping the team win a championship in my first year."
DuBay's goal not only gave the Eagles the lead, but it seemingly gave them a momentum boost for the second half, a half in which they looked the like the more desperate team. The Warriors had trouble getting the ball out and keeping it out of their own end, as the Eagles continually pressed the action.
When Galt did get the ball in the offensive end, Vista keeper Brandon Lee made every play he needed to. For as many times as he touched the ball, Lee never had to make a spectacular play. He was solid from start to finish.
Galt's best chance to score came about midway through the first half, when Lee went to make a save far from his net. When a Warrior booted the ball over Lee's head toward the open net, Vista's Daniel Jacobs was there and headed the sure goal out of harms way.
The Warriors had a nice attempt on goal with about 11 minutes to play, but Isaac Martinez' crossing pass intended for Alejandro Renteria was just out of his reach.
"The boys worked really hard all season," Vista coach Joe Esfandiary said. "We graduated 12 seniors last year and basically had to put a new team together. They gave it their all throughout the season and I'm very proud of them."
For senior Alex Ford, it was his third section championship, as he was a member of the past two section championship teams.
"It's amazing, honestly," Ford said when asked about his varsity soccer career. "To leave high school with three section championships feels good."