Daytona Beach, FL – From the semifinals on, we knew there would be a first-time national champion in NJCAA Division I Men's Soccer. Top-seeded Pima entered as the tournament favorites, but didn't have an easy path to get to the Aztecs' first national title in men's soccer.
Pima controlled the pace in the opening 10 minutes including a free-kick by Tournament MVP Hugo Kametani from just outside the box that sailed inches over the crossbar. Barton would settle down and controlled much of the possession for the remainder of the half, finishing with 4-3 shot advantage at intermission.
Aided by their six-man substitution wave the Cougars have utilized all season, Barton controlled a good portion of the second half early on. The pressure applied to the Pima defense finally resulted in a hand-ball call in the box against the Aztecs. Barton's Tevin Rochester calmly stepped up and converted the penalty by going to the left, opposite of the keeper's dive, in the 62nd minute.
Showing frustration several minutes later, Pima's Javier Vega was issued a red card following a hard foul. The Aztecs really found themselves with their backs to the wall but responded resiliently.
In the 79th minute, Pima's Isaias German connected on a one-touch hit that curled the ball past the out-stretched diving arm of Barton keeper Felipe Baeza to equalize the score heading into the final 10 minutes of regulation. Both teams had a few more attacks that failed to yield any score, sending the game into overtime.
Both teams, having played their fourth games this week and second in as many days, were showing tired legs early on. With just 3:55 remaining in the second overtime period, just ahead of having to go penalty kicks, Pima's Hugo Kametani beat Baeza to a 50/50 ball. Stretching a leg out to make contact, Kametani lifted a high ball that found its way into the net off of one bounce. Having collided with the goalkeeper, Kametani wasn't even aware that he had just delivered the national championship-winning golden goal to hand the Aztecs their first-ever title in men's soccer.
- Pima wins its first men's soccer national title in program history. The Aztecs had previously been 0-2 in national championship games.
- In the two previous title games, Pima lost 1-0 to Mercer County (NJ) in 1988 and was runner-up to a now-vacated national title in 1999.
- The 2018 national championship game was the eighth overtime title game in the in the last 16 editions. The most recent was Louisburg's 1-0 double-overtime defeat of Tyler in 2015.
- The 2018 title match was also the first time since 2011 (Monroe vs. Cloud County) to feature two teams who had never won it before.
- Hugo Kametani was voted Tournament MVP after producing three consecutive game-winners.
- Kametani scored two overtime game-winners; Wednesday against Northeast Texas (3-2) and Saturday against Barton for the national championship.
- Pima's David Cosgrove was named the Coach of the Tournament for guiding the top-ranked Aztecs to a national championship.