DUBLIN -- The De La Salle High boys soccer team has been the favorite in the North Coast Section Division I playoffs more often than not the last several seasons. But not until this year were the Spartans ever doubted.

After starting the season 3-4-3, a sixth straight NCS Division I title seemed unlikely, but not to De La Salle.

And because De La Salle never stopped believing, it ended the season with 15 wins in 17 games, including a 2-1 victory over Monte Vista on Saturday at Dublin High to clinch an sixth straight section crown.

"We never had any doubt, and we always believe in ourselves," De La Salle coach Derricke Brown said. "We use the outside stuff that people say as fuel and we are more than welcome to read that stuff all the time and we have it posted up in our team room. It was motivation for us to prove doubters wrong and to turn a tough situation into something great."

De La Salle (18-6-3), in winning its 11th overall title, didn't wait long to get the scoring started Saturday as Nick Mitchell squeezed a ball into the Mustangs; net in the 10th minute.

The play went back and forth for the most part after that, but then the Spartans, sniffing another title, kicked their play into another gear and increased the pressure on Monte Vista (19-4-3).


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De La Salle eventually broke through again when Grady Nelson finished a perfectly placed header by Joey Jones in the 54th minute, which wound up being the game-winner.

"Of course, it's every strikers' dream to score the game-winner, but it could have been anyone on this team and I wouldn't have been any less happy," Nelson said. "I'm just so stoked to end my soccer career here on top. This one is just as sweet as last year's, if not better."

The Mustangs woke up after that, though it came too late. Jeff Greenberg scored on a header in the 63rd minute.

Another Monte Vista header nearly found the back of the net in the 72nd minute, but Keegan Murphy made a great save diving to his right, punching the ball clear of the line.

"It feels great to be a part of it," Murphy said. "But honestly, it's a team win and we had several defenders step up today. It's a team win."