MUNSTER | Another year, another sectional.
Sectional host Munster made it an even consecutive dozen in the sectional title count, which is a new all-time state record for boys soccer.
However, the Mustangs didn't get by easy in its 2-1 Class 2A sectional championship tilt against a very game E.C. Central team Saturday afternoon.
Senior forward Peter Panos scored what would be the game-winning goal in the 64th minute after connecting on a shot just outside of the goalie box.
"We were not gonna be the team that broke the streak," Panos said. "Everyone came in two hours early, we just talked about soccer and got focused."
Munster (10-7-1) scored the game's initial goal on a deflection off its first corner kick.
Senior midfielder Demetri Georgalas almost put it in on the corner, but it was knocked out by Cardinals senior keeper Juvenal Enriquez.
However, the deflection went right to Georgalas, who bent one to a diving Nik Kajmakoski, heading it in during the 20th minute.
E.C. Central (12-3-1) missed out on a couple opportunities to tie it in the first half, including in the 34th minute when junior defender Dean Svolos made a diving stop on Cardinals forward Erik Beltran's attempt after Munster junior keeper Emmanuel Soto made a save just a second later.
Three minutes into the second half, the upstart Cardinals were denied on the goal line yet again by a defender, but this time it was by sophomore David Ortega.
Eight minutes later, E.C. Central finally broke through when do-it-all sophomore forward Francisco Torres netted a free kick from 20 yards out after Munster was called for a handball.
According to Cardinals coach Costulo Perez, his program has a lot to look forward to in the next couple of years.
"I love my team because they never gave up," he said. "Any coach would love to have (Francisco Torres) and this team has heart and talent for days. The future is bright."
The Mustangs, who were much more aggressive than in games past, notched 14 shots on goal, which included several near misses.
"We were happy to get more shots on goal and the score didn't reflect that," Munster coach Jim Prasopoulos said.
"This is something special because it hasn't been easy. We've shown a lot of team pride and I don't care who's in our sectional. It's hard to repeat."