SAN DIEGO — Valhalla's boys' soccer team had been to the section final twice before, but before Thursday's Division II championship, Coach George Logan told his second-seeded Norsemen that wasn't enough.
"You've tied one and you've lost one," Logan said. "You've still got to prove yourself. Play to your potential."
Valhalla did just that, defeating top-seeded Sweetwater, 2-0, in front of 1,500 at the University of San Diego.
Finally, after a 1-0 loss to San Diego in 1990 and a 1-1 tie against San Diego in 1989, this Valhalla team (20-1-2) has joined the ranks of Logan's heroes. Logan's teams are now 3-1-2 in six consecutive section final appearances.
Logan's hero Thursday was not an unlikely one. Yet he was playing his first season at Valhalla, as a senior.
Forward Sergio Uribe broke a 0-0 tie 16:40 into the second half with his 26th goal of the season. Five minutes later, he assisted on a goal by Ian Saward.
That score seemed to let the wind out of the Red Devils, who were pinned back on defense all night.
Uribe transfered to Valhalla this year after spending 1989-90 sitting the bench at El Cajon Valley.
"They didn't play me at all," Uribe said, "so I thought I'd go to Valhalla to try out."
About Uribe's transfer, Logan shook his head and said, "When did you ever get a walk-on to score 26 goals for you?"
For Valhalla, freshman goalkeeper Tristan Merica-Jones had to make only two saves for the shutouts.
Sweetwater (21-3-4), making its first appearance in a section final, managed only 10 shots to Valhalla's 21. Sweetwater goalkeeper Billy Arns had 11 saves.